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This Dictionary has taken me far longer to complete than, 
when I began it, I had any notion that it would. Yet I do not 
regret the delay, since it has enabled me, though very briefly, 
to shew (Introduction, page 10 8, note) that the latest investi- 
gation has proved the newly-announced group Stereornithes, 
which seemed at first so important, to have no more claim to 
recognition than had that known as Odontornithes. 

The articles by Dr. Gadow have fully sustained the 
expectation of them expressed in my initial Note. Eead with 
the aid of the cross-references they contain and the Index that 
follows, they cannot fail to place the enquirer, be he beginner 
or advanced student, in a position he could not hope to occupy 
through the study of any other English book, and, what is 
better, a position whence he may extend his researches in many 

It has been my object throughout to compress into the 
smallest compass the information intended to be conveyed. 
It would have been easier to double the bulk of the work, 
but the limits of a single volume are already strained, and to 
extend it to a second would in several ways destroy such 
usefulness as it may possess. Still I cannot but regret having 
to omit any special notice of several interesting subjects which 
bear more or less directly upon Ornithology. To name only a 
few of them — Insulation, Isomorphism, Eeversion and the 


Struggle for Existence, as illustrated by Birds, were tempting 
themes for treatment, while Nomenclature, which owing to its 
contentious nature I have studied to avoid, and Protection, 
about which so much deplorable and mischievous misunder- 
standing exists, might well be said to demand consideration. 
It will be obvious to nearly every one that the number of 
names of Birds included in a work of this kind might be 
increased almost indefinitely. Whether it will ever be pos- 
sible for me to supply these additions, and others, must depend 
on many things, and not least on the reception accorded by 
the public to the present volume. 

A. N. 

Magdalene College, Cambridge, 
November, 1896. 


Page 9, line 10, for MoUy-mauk read MoUymawk. 

„ „ 23. ALECTORIDES, proposed as a Family of Grallatores by lUiger 
in 1811, is the same group as Temminck's of 1820, with the addition 
of Cereopsis ; but neither has anything in common with the 
Alectrides of Dumeril in 1806. 
Insert ALECTOROPODES, Huxley, P.Z.S. 1863, pp. 296, 299, and see 
Peristeeopodes, page 707. 
„ 11, line 28. Amadavats {Anadavadaea, or Anadavad, corrected in Index 
to Amadavad) had been brought from India to England by 
1673 (WUlughby, Orn. p. 194, Engl. p. 266). 
,, 14, ,, 11, /or cases reac^ causes. 
„ 21, ,, 39, for Harglta read Hargila. 

30, after BEEF-EATER insert Pennant, Gen. B. p. 9 (1773), 
„ 34, line 28, for Eurinorhynchus read Eicrynorhynchus. 
„ 38, „ 4, dele his father. 
„ 45, „ 27, after wintering in insert Egypt. 
„ 58, „ 1, /or Oligomtodi rmt? Oligomyod^. 
„ 78, ,, 25, after printed as insert " Cassawarway," Coryat, Crudities, 

Pref. Verses, 1611 (iV. E. Diet. ii. p. 152), and then. 
„ 101, note 2, for Lammergeier read Lammergeter. 
„ 102, line 14, for back read beak. 

„ 104, „ Z'l,for Desmognathous reac^ ^githognathous. 
„ 105, „ 1, after ^a^ots — ^eZe the comma. 
„ 108, „ 41, a/ifer known by insert Albiu [N. H. Birds, ii. pi. 53, fig. 2), and 

subsequently by. 
„ 118, „ 1, after p. 176) insert and also to the Crowned - Crane 

„ 130, „ 26, after authors insert as Pennant in 1773 {Gen. B. p. 13). 
„ 130, add CUT-THROAT, see Weaver-bird. 

„ 136, „ 20, /or Mouth reacZ mouth. 

„ 139. To explanation of Fig. 1 add — L. follicle at base of villus. 
„ 159, line 15, for sixteen read fifteen. 
„ 159, „ 17, dele De. 
„ 162, lines 18-21. Lobivanelhis and some other forms have the structure said 

to be peculiar to the Dotterel alone. 
„ 165, line 3, for Mussulmans and Christians read Christians and Mussul- 
„ 166, ,, last. Drepanis pacifica,, though nearly extinct, proves not to have 
been so when this sentence was written. A second species, D. 


funerea, lias since been described from Maui {P.Z.S. 1893, p. 

Page 179, line 9 from bottom, /or foramen ovale read fenestra ovalis. 
„ 189, „ 32, /or ark-line reac^ ark-like. 
„ 214, „ 10,/or 70 to 80 reacZ 57. 
„ 214, lines 21-23. The statement needs correction, as the Rhea also swims 

„ 215, line 2, after ERNE insert A.-S. Earn. 

„ 218, „ 6, for Miserythrus read Erythromachus. (See page 764, note 1.) 
„ 221, „ 30, after In insert 1809 Tucker {Orn. Danmon. p. lix.), and in. 
„ 222, „ 8. Examples are now known to have been killed later than 1852, 

see Auk, 1894, pp. 4-12. 
, , 223, „ 9, for thirty-eight read forty-two or forty-three. 
„ 229, „ 43. The iris in Harelda is said to be straw-colour in winter, dark 

hazel in summer. E. A. S. Elliot, Bull. B. 0. Olub, 20 May 

,, 235, note 1. Falco, as a man's name, was in earlier use. Q. Sosius Falco 

was a Roman Consul circa a.d. 193 ; see Capitolinus in Jlist. 

August. Script. VI. " Pertinax " (Lugd. Bat. : 1671, p. 558). 
„ 238; line 28, for Luggur read Luggar. 

„ 255, „ 20. The statement as to nidification of Phoenicopterus was con- 
firmed by D'Orbigny, /tZe I. Geoffroy St.-Hilaire. 
„ 261, „ 20, for 45 per cent read ^^, and line 21 for 16 per cent read from 
1 , _i_ 

7-57 *'° 10-55" 

„ 269. Fig. 8 is accidentally inverted (cf. Marey, Vol des Ois. p. 140). 

„ 277, line 28, for about read in or before. 

„ 277, „ 30, after and insert Dexter, and dele Subsequently. 

„ 277 ,, 34, and note 2. Many other remains from this deposit have been 

described by Prof. Marsh, Am. Journ. Sc. (3) xxxvii. p. 331 ; 

xlii. p. 267 ; xliii. p. 543 ; and xlv. p. 169. 
„ 278, „ 5, for discovered read made known. 
„ 279, „ 4, for 20 read 12. 
„ 281, note 2, for Ameyhino read Ameghino. 
„ 284, line 41, for Haliietus read Haliaetus. 
„ 289, ,, 26. The statement as to Gallics ferrugineus being found on the 

Raj-peepla hills is erroneous {cf. Blanford, J.A.S.B. xxxvi. pt. 

2, p. 199). 
„ 291, „ 26, for 1869 read 1862. 
„ 293, „ 31, for the elder Brandt read Illiger. 
„ 316, ,, 17, for Prosthemachcra read Prosthemadera. 
„ 320, „ 21, for Lophophanes read Lo2ohophaps. 
„ 323, „ 8, /or Oligomyodi rmc^ OLiGOMYODiE. 
,, 327, ,, 6, for Prionoteles read Prionotelus. 
„ 338, note 5, for Meado-Walde, read Meade-Waldo, 
,, 349, line 4, after Rhynchaia add , Rhynchops. 
„ 370, „ 10, /or American reacZ Canadian. 
„ 371. Insert GOONEY (prov. Engl, for a stupid or awkward person), a 

sailors' name for an Albatros. 
„ 376, line 44, for Nettapus read Nettopus. 


Page 396, note 2. jVIr. 0. Grant {Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxii. p. 498) makes the Guan 
of Edwards to be Penelope cristata. 

„ 406, lines 13 et seqq. On the anatomy and affinities of Scopus, cf. Beddard, 
P.Z.S. 1884, p. 543. 

„ 415. HEATHER-BLEAT, a corruption of the A.-S. Hsefer-blsete, or Goat- 
like bleater {fide Skeat). 

„ 428, line last,/o?' Soldier-bibd read Blood-bird. 

„ 429, „ 12 and beneath figure, for llelithrejptes read Melithreptus. 

„ 434, „ 38, after habits insert except what Herr Hartert has told us 
{J.f.O. 1889, pp. 366-368). 

„ 456, lines 1-3, for *S. read I. 

„ 456, line 21, after known insert , except Oomatibis. 

„ 458, „ 37, dele and best-. 

„ 459, „ 29, after Anibulatores insert and Scansores. 

„ 465, lines 20, 21, transfer the latter from line 21 to line 20 after and, insert- 
ing also after those words. 

„ 482, line 4, for hiaticula read hiaticola. 

„ 487, „ ^1,for Syndactylism read Syndactylism, cf. Stndacttli. 

„ 496, note 2 (in early copies), after A. maxima, insert (from Stewart Island), 
A. liaasti. 

„ 513, „ 2. The derivation of Liverpool is now said to be from the A.-S. 
Iwfer, a rush or flag {cf. Britten and Holland, Diet. Engl. 
Plant Names, p. 304). 

„ 614, line 4, for Lepelaer read Lepelaar. 

„ 519, note 2, for Toueacoo read Todraco. 

„ 524, lines 26 et seqq. Further information on the subject is given by Mr. 
Eamsay, P.Z.S. 1868, pp. 49 et seqq. 

„ 525, note. The egg of M. superba has been figured by Mr. North, Nests 
and Eggs of Australian Birds, pi. x. 

„ 536, line 11, for Curlew or Godwit read Godwit or to Numenius hud- 
sonicus (Curlew). 

„ 536, „ 16, /w TurnbuU rmc^ Trumbull. 

„ 553, liaes 13, 14 of notes. The historic nesting-place of Parus cseruleus 
was reoccupied in 1895. 

„ 562, ,, 1-3. Mr. Clarke's Digest of the observations will be found in i^e^). 
Brit. Association (Liverpool Meeting), 1896. 

„ 563, „ 7-9. Gf. Peal, Rep. Aeronaut. Soc. 16, pp. 10-17 (1881), and 
Nature, xxiii. pp. 10, 11. Additional observations of Birds 
flying at great heights are recorded by Bray, op. cit. lii. p. 
415, and West, op. cit. liii. p. 131. 

„ 600, line 18, for New Zealand read Western Australia. The Mountain- 
Duck of New Zealand is Hymenolsemus (page 843). 

„ 616, lines 28-35. The preparation V, c, here described, and diagrammatic- 
ally figured on the opposite page, proved not to be taken from 
any of the Trochilidse. Cf. Lucas and Gadow, Ibis, 1895, pp. 

„ 654, line 3, for Argusanus read Argusianus. 

„ 686, „ 29, for Cyanorhynchus read Cyanorhamphus. 

„ 687, line 4, Parrots are not wanting in the Philippine Islands, as 
asserted. See Nature, li. p. 367. 


Page, 692, note 1, for Tita read Tito. 

„ 698, line 8, for laryngeal read tracheal. 

„ 700, note 1. In the Exhibition of Venetian Art at the New Gallery in 

Eegent Street, 1894-5, No. 68 of the Catalogue was a picture, 

attributed to Vittorio Carpaccio, containiug a representation of 

a "japanned" Peacock. 
„ 703, line 12, dele male's. 
„ 703, note 2. The first of the three derivations assigned was the suggestion 

"by probability" of Selden in his 'Illustrations' of Drayton's 

poem (p. 148). Being almost impossible, and unsupported by 

evidence, it is the derivation most popularly accepted. 
„ 711, line 11, and p. 716, last line of text, for Sayornis read Empidonax. 
„ 732, lines 16-18. The statement as to old feathers changing their colour Ls 

probably erroneous (see Auk, 1896, pp. 148-150 ; Bidl. Am. 

3Ius. iV. H. viii. pp. 1-44). 
„ 734, line 18 of notes, for Eurinorhynclms read Eurynorhynchus. 
„ 743, „ 28,/OT- 173, 177 read 272, 277. 
„ 744, ,, 8, for anterior read posterior. 
„ 754, „ 4, after Dutch i7ise7-t name for the Pintail. 
„ 789, note 2, for Acarthidositta read Acanthidositta. 
„ 814, line 6, for p. cxxxix. read pp. xi. cxxxix. pi. vii. 
„ 814, „ 15. The term Or?wY7iZir« is used by Furbringer, see Introduction, 

page lOS. 
„ 820, „ 11. Chauna derbiana is the true C. c7iavaria (Linn.), while the 

species commonly so called is C. cristata {cf. Salvadori, Cat. 

B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. pp. 4-7). 
„ 843, „ 2, after the insert Mountaia- or. 
„ 887, „ 24, after for insert Myzantlia, garrida, M. flavigula, and ; for 

sanguinoleuta read sangimiolenta. 
„ 893, note 2. Local difference ia Birds' notes was noticed in 1809 by Tucker 

(Orn. Danvion. p. Ixxxiv.) 
„ 896, „ 1, after designation add ; but Mr. Barrows in his able work {The 

English Sparrow in North America.. Washington : 1889) 

continues the misleading name. 
„ 905, line 34. Clearing away the matrix of the specimen has since shewn 

this septum (cf. Introduction, page lOS, note). 


Ornithology in its proper sense is the methodical study and consequent 
knowledge of Birds with all that relates to them ; but the difficulty of 
assigning a limit to the commencement of such study and knowledge gives 
the word a very vague meaning, and practically procures its application 
to much that does not enter the domain of Science. This elastic applica- 
tion renders it impossible in any sketch of the history of Ornithology to 
draw a sharp distinction between works that are emphatically ornitho- 
logical and those to which that title can only be attached by courtesy ; 
for, since Birds have always attracted far greater attention than any other 
group of animals with which in number or in importance they can be 
compared, there has grown up concerning them a literature of corre- 
sponding magnitude and of the widest range, extending from the recondite 
and laborious investigations of the morphologist and anatomist to the 
casual observations of the sportsman or the schoolboy. The chief cause 
of the disproportionate amount of attention which Birds have received 
plainly arises from the way in which so many of them familiarly present 
themselves to us, or even (it may be said) force themselves upon our 
notice. Trusting to the freedom from danger conferred by the power of 
flight, most Birds have no need to lurk hidden in dens, or to slink from 
place to place under shelter of the inequalities of the ground or of the 
vegetation which clothes it, as is the case with so many other animals of 
similar size. Beside this, a great number of the Birds which thus display 
tliemselves freely to our gaze are conspicuous for the beauty of their 
plumage ; and there are very few that are not remarkable for the grace of 
their form. Some Birds again enchant us with their voice, and others 
administer to our luxuries and wants, while there is scarcely a species 
which has not idiosyncrasies that are found to be of engaging interest the 
more we know of them. Moreover, it is clear that the art of the fowler 
is one that must have been practised from the very earliest times, and to 
follow that art with success no inconsiderable amount of acquaintance 
with the haunts and habits of Birds is a necessity. Owing to one or 
another of these causes, or to the combination of more than one, it is not 
surprising that the observation of Birds has been from a very remote 
period a favourite pursuit among nearly all nations, and this observation 
has by degrees led to a study more or less framed on methodical principles, 
finally reaching the dignity of a science, and a study that has its votaries 


in almost all classes of the population of every civilized country. In tlie 
ages during which, intelligence dawned on the world's ignorance, or before 
experience had accumulated, and even now in those districts that have 
not yet emerged from the twilight of a knowledge still more imperfect 
than is our own at present, an additional and perhaps a stronger reason 
for paying attention to the ways of Birds existed, or exists, in their 
association with the cherished beliefs handed down from generation to 
generation among many races of men, and not infrequently interwoven 
in their mythology.^ 

Moreover, though Birds make a not unimportant appearance in the 
earliest written records of the human race, the painter's brush has 
preserved their counterfeit presentment for a still longer period. What is 
asserted — and that, so far as the writer is aware, without contradiction — 
by Egyptologists of the highest repute to be one of the oldest pictures in 
the world is a fragmentary fresco taken from a tomb at Maydoom, and 
happily deposited, though in a decaying condition, in the Museum at 
Boolak. This picture is said to date from the time of the third or fourth 
dynasty, some three thousand years before the Christian era. In it are 
depicted with a marvellous fidelity, and thorough appreciation of form and 
colouring (despite a certain conventional treatment), the figures of six 
Geese. Four of these figures can be unhesitatingly referred to two species 
{An&er erythropus and A. ruficollis) well known at the present day ; and if 
the two remaining figures, belonging to a third and larger species, were 
re-examined by an expert they would very possibly be capable of 
determination with no less certainty.^ In later ages the representations 
of Birds of one sort or another in Egyptian paintings and sculptures 
become countless, and the bassi-rilievi of Assyrian monuments, though 
mostly belonging of course to a subsequent period, are not without them ; 
but so rudely designed as to be generally unrecognizable.^ No figures of 
Birds, however, seem yet to have been found on the incised stones, bones 
or ivories of the prehistoric races of Europe. 

It is of course necessary to name Aristotle (b.c. 385-322) as the first 
serious author on Ornithology with whose writings we are acquainted, but 
even he had, as he tells us, predecessors ; and, looking to that portion of 
his works on animals which has come down to us, one finds that, though 
more than 170 sorts of Birds are mentioned,* yet what is said of them 
amounts on the whole to very little, and this consists more of desultory 

■^ For instances of this among Greeks and Eomans almost any work on " Classical 
Antiquities " may be consulted, while as regards the superstitions of barbarous nations 
the authorities are far too numerous to be here named. 

^ A facsimile of the picture is, or was a few years ago, exhibited at the Museum 
of Science and Art in London, and the portion containing the figures of the Geese has 
been figured by Mr. Loftie {Ride in Egypt, p. 209). I owe to that gentleman's kindness 
the opportunity of examining a copy made on the spot by an accomplished artist, as 
well as information that it is No. 988 of Mariette's Catalogue. 

^ Of. W. Houghton ' On the Birds of the Assyrian Monuments and Records, ' 
Trans. Soc. Bibl. Archasol. viii. pp. 42-142, 13 pis. (1883). The author being but a 
poor ornithologist, his determination of the figures cannot be trusted. As to the 
linguistic value of his labours I am not competent to speak. 

"* This is Sundevall's estimate ; Drs. Aubert and Wimmer in their excellent edition 
of the 'laropiai irepl ^i^uv (Leipzig : 1868) limit the number to 126. 


observations in illustration of his general remarks (whicli are to a con- 
siderable extent physiological or bearing on the subject of reproduction) 
than of an attempt at a connected account of Birds. Some of these 
observations are so meagre as to have given plenty of occupation to his 
many commentators, who with varying success have for more than three 
hundred years been endeavouring to determine what were the Birds of 
which he wrote ; and the admittedly corrupt state of the text adds to 
their difficulties. One of the most recent of these commentators, the late 
Prof. Sundevall — equally proficient in classical as in ornithological know- 
ledge — was, in 1863, compelled to leave more than a score of the Birds 
unrecognized. Yet it is not to be supposed that in what survives of the 
great philosopher's writings we have more than a fragment of the know- 
ledge possessed by him, though the hope of recovering his Zojlko, or his 
' AvarofjiLKd, in which he seems to have given fuller descriptions of the 
animals he knew, can be hardly now entertained. A Latin translation 
by Gaza of Aristotle's existing zoological work was printed at Venice in 
1503. Another version, by Scaliger, was subsequently published. Two 
wretched English translations have appeared.^ 

Next in order of date, though at a long interval, comes Gains Plinius 
Secundus, commonly known as Pliny the Elder, who died A.D. 79, author 
of a general and very discursive Historia Naturalis in thirty-seven books, of 
which most of Book X. is devoted to Birds. A considerable portion of 
Pliny's work may be traced to his great predecessor, of whose information 
he freely and avowedly availed himself, while the additions thereto made 
cannot be said to be, on the whole, improvements. Neither of these 
authors attempted to classify the Birds known to them beyond a very 
rough and for the most part obvious grouping. Aristotle seems to 
recognize eight principal groups : — (1) Gampsonyches, approximately 
equivalent to the Accipitres of Linnaeus ; (2) Scolecophaga, containing most 
of what would now be called Oscines, excepting indeed the (3) Acantho- 
phaga, composed of the Goldfinch, Siskin and a few othors ; (4) Scnipo- 
phaga, the Woodpeckers ; (5) Peristeroide, or Pigeons ; (6) Schizopoda, (7) 
Steganopoda and (8) Barea, nearly the same respectively as the Linnsean 
Grallse, Anseres and Gallinse. Pliny, relying wholly on characters taken 
from the feet, limits himself to three groups — without assigning names to 
them — those which have " hooked tallons, as Hawkes ; or round long 
clawes, as Hennes ; or else they be broad, flat, and whole-footed, as Geese 
and all the sort in manner of water-foule " — to use the words of Philemon 
Holland, who, in 1601, published a quaint and, though condensed, yet 
fairly faithful English translation of Pliny's work.^ 

About a century later came ^Elian, who died about a.d. 140, and 
compiled in Greek (though he was an Italian by birth) a number of 
miscellaneous observations on the peculiarities of animals. His work is 
a kind of commonplace book kept without scientific discrimination. A 

1 By Thomas Taylor in 1809, and Cresswell in 1862. 

- The French translation by Ajasson de Grandsagne, with notes by Cuvier (Paris: 
1830), is very good for the time. An English translation by Bostock and Riley 
appeared between 1855 and 1857. Sillig's edition of the original text (Gotha : 1851- 
1853) seems to be the best. 


considerable number of Birds are mentioned, and something said of almost 
each of tbem ; but that something is too often nonsense — according to 
modern ideas — tbough occasionally a fact of interest may therein be found. 
It contains numerous references to former or contemporary writers whose 
works have perished, but there is nothing to shew that they were wiser 
than ^lian himself. 

The twenty-six books Be Animalibus of Albertus Magnus (Groot), who 
died A.D. 1282, were printed in 1478 ; but were apparently already well 
known from manuscript copies. They are founded on the works of 
Aristotle, many of whose statements are almost literally repeated, and 
often without acknowledgment. Occasionally Avicenna, or some other 
less-known author, is quoted ; but it is hardly too much to say that the 
additional information is almost worthless. The twenty-third of these 
books is De Avibus, and therein a great number of Birds' names make 
their earliest appearance, few of which are without interest from a philo- 
logist's if not an ornithologist's point of vieAv, but there is much diflSculty 
in recognizing the species to which many of them apply. In 1485 was 
printed the first dated copy of the volume known as the Ortus Sanitatis, 
to the popularity of which many editions testify. Though said by its 
author, Johann Wonnecke von Caub (Latinized as Johannes de Cuba),^ to 
have been composed from a study of the collections formed by a certain 
nobleman who had travelled in Eastern Europe, Western Asia and Egypt 
— possibly Breidenbach,^ an account of whose travels in the Levant was 
printed at Mentz in 1486 — it is really a medical treatise, and its zoological 
portion is mainly an abbreviation of the writings of Albertus Magnus, with 
a few interpolations from Isidorus of Seville (who flourished in the 
beginning of the seventh century, and was the author of many books 
highly esteemed in the Middle Ages), and a work known as Physiologus.^ 
The third tractatus of this volume deals with Birds — including among 
them Bats, Bees and other flying creatures ; but as it is the first 
printed book in which figures of Birds are introduced it merits notice, 
though most of the illustrations, which are rude woodcuts, fail, even in 
the coloured copies, to give any precise indication of the species intended 
to be represented. The scientific degeneracy of this work is manifested 
as much by its title {Ortus for Hortus) as by the mode in which the several 
subjects are treated ; ^ but the revival of learning was at hand, and 

^ On this point see G. A. Pritzel, Botan. Zeitung, 1846, pp. 785-790, and Thes. 
Literat. Botanicse (Lipsise : 1851), pp. 349-352. 

"^ I owe this suggestion to my late good friend, the eminent bibliographer, Henry 

2 See the excellent account of this curious work by Prof. Land of Leyden (Enci/cl. 
Brit. ed. 9, xix. pp. 6, 7). 

* Absurd as much that we find both in Albertus Magnus and the Ortus seems to 
modern eyes, if we go a step lower in the scale and consult the " Bestiaries " or 
treatises on animals which were common from the twelfth to the fourteenth century 
we shall meet with many more absurdities. See for instance that by Philippe de 
Thauu (Philippus Taonensis), dedicated to Adelaide or Alice, queen of Henry I. of 
England, and probably written soon after 1121, as printed by the late Mr. Thomas 
Wright, in his Popular Treatises on Science vyritten during the Middle Ages (London : 
1841). Perhaps the I)e Naturis Renim lihri duo of Alexander Neckam {ob. 1217), 
the foster-brother of Richard Cceur de Lion, may be excepted, for therein (lib. i. 


William Turner, a Northumbrian, while residing abroad to avoid persecu- 
tion at home, printed at Cologne in 1544 the first commentary on the 
Birds mentioned by Aristotle and Pliny conceived in anything like the 
spirit that moves modern naturalists, ^ In the same year and from the 
same press was issued a Dialocjus de Avibus by Gybertus Longolius, and 
in 1570 Caius brought out in London his treatise De rariorum animalium 
atque stirpium historia. In this last work, small though it be, ornithology 
has a good share ; and all three may still be consulted with interest and 
advantage by its votaries.- Meanwhile the study received a great impulse 
from the appearance, at Zurich in 1555, of the third book of the illustrious 
Conrad Gesner's Historia Animalium " qvi est de Auium natura," and at 
Paris in the same year of Pierre Belon's (Bellonius) Histoire de la nature 
des Oyseaux. Gesner brought an amount of erudition, hitherto unequalled, 
to bear upon his subject ; and, making due allowance for the time in 
which he wrote, his judgment must in most respects be deemed excellent. 
In his work, however, there is little that can be called systematic treat- 
ment. Like nearly all his predecessors since ^lian, he adopted an 
alphabetical arrangement,^ though this was not too pedantically preserved, 
and did not hinder him from placing together the kinds of Birds which he 
supposed (and generally supposed rightly) to have the most resemblance 
to that one whose name, being best known, was chosen for the headpiece 
(as it were) of his particular theme, thus recognizing to some extent the 
principle of classification.'^ Belon, with perhaps less book-learning than 
his contemporary, was evidently no mean scholar, and undoubtedly had 
more practical knowledge of Birds — their internal as well as external 
structure. Hence his work contains a far greater amount of original 
matter; and his personal observations made in many countries, from 
England to Egypt, enabled him to avoid most of the puerilities which 
disfigure other works of his own or of a preceding age. Beside this, Belon 
disposed the Birds known to him according to a definite system, which 
(rude as we now know it to be) formed a foundation on which several of 
his successors were content to build, and even to this day traces of its 
influence may still be discerned in the arrangement followed by writers 
who have faintly appreciated the principles on which modern taxonomers 
rest the outline of their schemes. Both his work and that of Gesner were 

capp. xxiii.-lxxx.) is a good deal about bii'ds which is not altogether nonsense. This 
work was edited for the Rolls Series, ia 1863, by the same Mr. Wright. 

^ This was reprinted at Cambridge in 1823 by the late Dr, George Thackeray, 

- The Seventh of Wotton's De differentiis animalium Libri Decern, published at 
Paris in 1552, treats of Birds ; but his work is merely a compilation from Aristotle 
and Pliny, with references to other classical writers who have more or less incidentally 
mentioned Birds and other animals. The author in his preface states — " Veterum 
scriptorum sententias in unum quasi cumulum coaceruaui, de meo nihil addidi." 
Nevertheless he makes some attempt at a systematic arrangement of Birds, which, 
according to his lights, is far from despicable. 

^ Even at the present day it may be shrewdly suspected that not a few orni- 
thologists would gladly follow Gesner's plan in their despair of seeing, in their own 
time, a classification which would really deserve the epithet scientific. 

^ For instance, under the title of " Accipiter " we have to look, not only for the 
Sparrow-Hawk and Gos-Hawk, but for many other birds of the Family (as we now 
call it) removed comparatively far from those species by modern ornithologists. 


illustrated with, woodcuts, many of wliicli display much, spirit and regard 
to accuracy. 

Belon, as lias just been said, had a knowledge of the anatomy of Birds, 
and he seems to have been the first to institute a direct comparison of 
tbeir skeleton with that of Man ; but in this respect he only anticipated 
by a few years the more precise researches of Volcher Goiter, a Frisian, 
who in 1573 and 1575 published at Nuremberg two treatises, in one of 
wbich the internal structure of Birds in general is very creditably de- 
scribed, while in the other the osteology and myology of certain forms is 
given in considerable detail, and illustrated by carefully-drawn figures. 
The first is entitled Externarum etinternaruinimncipaliumhumani corporis 
Tabulss, &c., while the second, which is the most valuable, is merely 
appended to the Lectiones Gahrielis FaUopii de partibus similaribus humani 
corporis, &c., and thus, the scope of each work being regarded as medical, 
the author's labours were wholly overlooked by the mere natural-historians 
who followed, though Goiter introduced a table, " De differentiis Auiuvi" 
furnishing a key to a rough classification of such Birds as were known to 
him, and this, as nearly the first attempt of the kind, deserves notice here. 

Gontemporary with these three men was Ulysses Aldrovandus, a 
Bolognese, who wrote an Historia Naturalium in sixteen folio volumes, 
most of which were not printed till after his death in 1605 ; but the three 
on Birds appeared between 1599 and 1603. The work is almost wholly 
a compilation, and that not of the most discriminative kind, while a 
peculiar jealousy of Gesner is displayed throughout, though his statements 
are very constantly quoted — nearly always as those of " Ornithologus," 
his name appearing but few times in the test, and not at all in the list of 
authors cited. With certain modifications in principle not very important, 
but characterized by much more elaborate detail, Aldrovandus adopted 
Belon's method of arrangement, but in a few respects there is a manifest 
retrogression. The work of Aldrovandus was illustrated by copper plates, 
but none of his figures approach those of his immediate predecessors in 
character or accuracy. Nevertheless the book was eagerly sought, and 
several editions of it appeared.^ 

Mention must be made of a medical treatise by Gaspar Schwenckfeld, 
published at Liegnitz in 1603, under the title of TJieriotropheum Silesia, the 
fourth book of which consists of an " Aviarium Silesise," and is the earliest 
of the ornithological works we now know by the name of Fauna. The 
author was acquainted with the labours' of his predecessors, as his list of 
over one hundred of them testifies. Most of the Birds he describes are 
characterized with accuracy sufficient to enable them to be identified, 
and his observations upon them have still some interest ; but he was 
innocent of any methodical system, and was not exempt from most of 
the professional fallacies of his time.- 

^ The Historia Naturalis of John Johnstone or Jonston, of Scottish descent but 
by birth a Pole {Diet. Nat. Biogr. xxx. pp. SO, 81), ran through several editions 
during the seventeenth century, but is little more than an epitome of the worlc of 

^ The Hierozoicon of Bochart — a treatise on the animals named in Holy Writ — was 
published in 1G19. 


Hitherto, from the nature of the case, the works aforesaid treated of 
scarcely any but the Birds belonging to the orhis veteribus notus ; but the 
geographical discoveries of the sixteenth century began to bear fruit, and 
many animals of kinds unsuspected were, about one hundred years later, 
made known. Here there is only space to name Bontius, Clusius, 
Hernandez ^ (or Fernandez), Marcgrave, Nieremberg and Piso,^ whose 
several works describing the natural products of both the Indies — whether 
the result of their own observation or compilation — together with those 
of Olina and Worm, produced a marked effect, since they led up to what 
may be deemed the foundation of scientific Ornithology .^ 

This foundation was laid by the joint labours of Francis Willughby 
(born 1635, died 1672) and John Kay (born 1628, died 1705), for it is 
impossible to separate their share of work in Natural History more than 
to say that, while the former more especially devoted himself to zoology, 
botany was the favourite pursuit of the latter. Together they studied, 
together they travelled and together they collected. Willughby, the 
younger of the two, and at first the other's pupil, seems to have gradually 
become the master ; but dying before the promise of his life was fulfilled, 
his writings were given to the world by his friend Eay, who, adding to 
them from his own stores, published the Ornithologia in Latin in 1676, 
and in English with many emendations in 1678. In this work Birds 
generally were grouped in two great divisions — " Land-Fowl " and 
"Water-Fowl," — the former being subdivided into those which have a 
crooked beak and talons and those which have a straighter bill and 
claws, while the latter was separated into those which frequent waters 
and watery places and those that swim in the water — each subdivision 
being further broken up into many sections, to the whole of which 
a key was given. Thus it became possible for almost any diligent 
reader without much chance of error to refer to its proper place nearly 
every bird he was likely to meet with. Eay's interest in ornithology con- 
tinued, and in 1694 he completed a Synopsis Methodica Avium, which, 
through the fault of the booksellers to whom it was entrusted, was not 
published tiU 1713, when Derham gave it to the world.* 

Two years after Ray's death, Linnaeus, the great reformer of Natural 
History, was born, and in 1735 appeared the first edition of the celebrated 
Systema Naturse. Successive editions of this work were produced under 

^ The earliest work of Hernandez, published at Mexico in 1615, copies of which 
are very scarce, has been reprinted and edited by Dr. Leon (8vo, Morelia : 1888). 

^ For Lichtenstein's determination of the Birds described by Marcgrave and Piso 
see the Abhandlungen of the Berlin Academy for 1817 (pp. 155 et seqq.) 

^ The earliest list of British Birds seems to be that in the Pinax Rerum Katuralium 
of Christopher Merrett, published in 1666, and to be again mentioned presently. In 
1668 appeared the Onomasticon Zooicon of Walter Charleton, which contains some 
information on ornithology. An enlarged edition of the latter, under the title of 
Exercitationes, &c., was published in 1677 ; but neither of these writers is of much 
authority. In 1684 Sibbald in his Scotia illustrata published the earliest Fauna of 

* To this was added a supplement by Petiver on the Birds of Madras, taken from 
pictures and information sent him by one Edward Buckley of Fort St. George, being 
the first attempt to catalogue the Birds of any part of the British possessions in 


its author's supervision in 1740, 1748, 1758 and 1766. Impressed by 
the belief that verbosity was the bane of science, he carried terseness to 
an extreme which frequently created obscurity, and this in no branch of 
zoology more than in that which relates to Birds. Still the practice 
introduced by him of assigning to each species a diagnosis by which it 
ought in theory to be distinguishable from any other known species, and 
of naming it by two words — the first being the generic and the second 
the specific term, was so manifest an improvement upon anything which 
had previously obtained, that the Linnsean method of differentiation and 
nomenclature established itself before long in spite of all opposition, and 
in principle became almost universally adopted. The opposition came of 
course from those who were habituated to the older state of things, and 
saw no evil in the cumbrous, half-descriptive half-designative titles which 
had to be employed whenever a species was to be spoken of or written 
about. The supporters of the new method were the rising generation of 
naturalists, many of whose names have since become famous, but among 
them were some whose admiration of their chief carried them to a pitch 
of enthusiasm which now seems absurd. ^ Careful as Linneeus was in 
drawing up his definitions of groups, it was immediately seen that they 
occasionally comprehended creatures whose characteristics contradicted 
the prescribed diagnosis. His chief glory lies in his having reduced, at 
least for a time, a chaos into order, and in his shewing both by precept and 
practice that a name was not a definition. In his classification of Birds 
he for the most part followed Bay, and where he departed from his model 
he seldom improved upon it. 

In 1745 Barrere brought out at Perpignan a little book called 
Ornithologiss Specimen nouiim, and in 1752 Mohring published at Aurich 
one still smaller, his Avium Genera. Both these works (now rare) are 
manifestly framed on the Linnaean method, so far as it had then reached ; 
but in their arrangement of the various forms of Birds they diftered 
greatly from that which they designed to supplant, and they obtained 
little success. Yet as systematists their authors were no worse than 
Klein, whose Historise Avium Prodromus, appearing at Liibeck in 1750, 
and Stemmata Avium at Leipzig in 1759, met with considerable favour 
in some quarters. The chief merit of the latter work lies in its forty 
plates, whereon the heads and feet of many Birds are indifferently 

But, while the successive editions of Linnreus's great work were 
revolutionizing Natural History, and his example of j^recision in language 
was producing excellent effect on scientific writers, several other authors 
were advancing the study of Ornithology in a very different way — a way 
that pleased the eye even more than his labours were pleasing the mind. 
Between 1731 and 1743 Mark Catesby brought out in London his 

^ Such an one was Rafinesque, in many respects a fantastic aiitlior. Simple as 
the principle of binomial nomenclature looks, its practice is not so easy, and there 
have not been wanting of late years quasi-seientitic writers to mistake it wholly. 

^ After Klein's death his Prodromus, written in Latin, had the unwonted fortune 
of two distinct translations into German, published in the same year, 1760, the one 
at Leipzig and Liibeck by Behn, the other at Danzig by Reyger — each of whom 
added more or less to the original. 


Natural History of Carolina — two large folios containing highly-coloured 
plates of the Birds of that colony, Florida and the Bahamas — the fore- 
runners of those numerous costly tomes which will have to be mentioned 
presently at greater length.^ Eleazar Albin between 1738 and 1740 
produced a Natural History of Birds in three volumes of more modest 
dimensions, seeing that it is in quarto ; but he seems to have been ignorant 
of Ornithology, and his coloured plates are greatly inferior to Catesby's. 
Far better both as draughtsman and as authority was George Edwards, 
who in 1743 began, under almost the same title as Albin, a series of 
plates with letterpress, which was continued by the name of Gleanings of 
Natural History, and finished in 1760, when it had reached seven parts, 
forming four quarto volumes, the figures of which are nearly always 
quoted with approval.^ 

The year which saw the works of Edwards completed was still further 
distinguished by the appearance in France, where little had been done 
since Belon's days,^ in six quarto volumes, of the Ornithologie of Mathurin 
Jacques Brisson — a work of very great merit so far as it goes, for as a 
descriptive ornithologist the author stands even now unsurpassed ; but it 
must be said that his knowledge, according to internal evidence, was con- 
fined to books and to the external parts of Birds' skins. It was enough 
for him to give a scrupulously exact description of such specimens as 
came under his eye, distinguishing these by prefixing two asterisks to 
their name, using a single asterisk where he had only seen a part of the 
Bird, and leaving unmarked those that he described from other authors. 
He also added information as to the Museum (generally Reaumur's, of 
which he had been in charge) containing the specimen he described, act- 
ing on a principle which would have been advantageously adopted by 
many of his contemporaries and successors. His attempt at classification 
was certainly better than that of Linnaeus ; and it is rather curious that 
the researches of the latest ornithologists point to results in some degree 
comparable with Brisson's systematic arrangement, for they refuse to keep 
the Birds-of-Prey at the head of the Class Aves, and they require the 
establishment of a much larger number of " Orders " than for a long while 
had been thought advisable. Of such " Orders " Brisson had twenty-six, 
and he gave Pigeons and Poultry precedence of the Birds which are 
carnivorous or scavengers. But greater value lies in his generic or sub- 
generic divisions, which taken as a whole, are far more natural than those 
of Linnaeus, and consequently capable of better diagnosis. More than this, 
he seems to be the earliest ornithologist, perhaps the earliest zoologist, 
to conceive the idea of each genus possessing what is now called a " type " 
— though such a term does not occur in his work ; and, in like manner, 
without declaring it in so many words, he indicated unmistakably the 
existence of subgenera — all this being effected by the skilful use of names. 

^ Several Birds from Jamaica were figured in Sloane's Voyage, &c. (1705-1725), 
and a good many exotic species in the Thesaurus, &c. of Seba (1734-1765), but 
from their faulty execution these plates had little effect upon Ornithology. 

^ The works of Catesby and Edwards were afterwards reproduced at Nuremberg 
and Amsterdam by Seligmann, with the letterpress in German, French and Dutch. 

' Birds were treated of in a worthless fashion by one D. B. in a Dictionnaire 
raisonne et v.niversel des animaux, published at Paris in 1759. 


Unfortunately lie was too soon in the field to avail liimseK, even had he 
been so minded, of the convenient mode of nomenclature brought into 
use by Linnaeus, and it is only in the last two volumes of Brisson's 
Ornithologie that any reference is made to the tenth edition of the Systenia 
Natitrse, in which the binomial method was introduced. It is certain 
that the first four volumes were written if not printed before that method 
was promulgated, and when the fame of Linnseus as a zoologist rested on 
little more than the very meagre sixth edition of the Systema Natures and 
the first edition of his Fauna Suecica. Brisson has been charged with 
jealousy of, if not hostility to, the great Swede, and it is true that in the 
preface to his Ornithologie he complains of the insufficiency of the Linnsean 
characters, but, when one considers his much better acquaintance with 
Birds, such criticism must be allowed to be pardonable if not wholly 
just. This work was in French, with a parallel translation in Latin, 
which last (edited, it is said, by Pallas) was reprinted separately at Leyden 
three years afterwards. 

In 1767 there was issued at Paris a book entitled L'histoire naturelle 
eclair cie dans une de ses parties principales, V Ornithologie. This was the 
work of Salerne, published after his death, and is often spoken of as being 
a mere translation of Ray's Synopsis, but is thereby very inadequately 
described, for, though it is confessedly founded on that little book, a vast 
amount of fresh matter, and mostly of good quality, is added. 

The success of Edwards's work seems to have provoked competition, 
and in 1765, at the instigation of Buflbn, the younger D'Aubenton began 
the publication known as the Planches Enlumine'ez d'histoire naturelle, 
which appearing in forty-two parts was not completed till 1780, when the 
plates 1 it contained reached the number of 1008 — all coloured, as its title 
intimates, and nearly all representing Birds. This enormous work was 
subsidized by the French Government ; and, though the figures are devoid 
of artistic merit, they display the species they are intended to depict 
with sufficient approach to fidelity to ensure recognition in most cases 
without fear of error, which in the absence of any text is no small praise.^ 

But Buffon was not content with merely causing to be published this 
unparalleled set of plates. He seems to have regarded the work just 
named as a necessary precursor to his own labours in Ornithology. His 
Histoire Naturelle, generate et particulihre, was begun in 1749, and in 1770 
he brought out, with the assistance of Gu^nau de Montbeillard,^ the first 
volume of that grand undertaking relating to Birds, which, for the first 
time, became the theme of one who possessed real literary capacity. It 

^ They were drawn and engraved by Martinet, who himself began in 1787 a 
Histoire des Oiseaux with small coloured plates which have some merit, but the text 
is worthless. The work seems not to have been finished, and is rare. For the 
opportunity of seeing a copy I was indebted to my kind friend the late Jlr. Gurney. 

- Between 1767 and 1776 there appeared at Florence a Storia Naturale degli 
Uccelli, in five folio volumes, containing a number of ill-draMTi and ill-coloured figures 
from the collection of Giovanni Geriui, an ardent collector who, having died in 1751, 
must be acquitted of any share in the work, which, though sometimes attributed to 
him, is that of certain learned men who did not happen to be ornithologists (<;/". Savi, 
Ornitholofjia Toscana, i. Introduzione, p. v.). 

"* He retired on the com]ilction of the sixth volume, and thereupon Button 
associated Bexon with himself. 


is not too much to say tliat Buffon's florid fancy revelled in such a subject 
as was that on which he now exercised his brilliant pen ; but it would be 
unjust to examine too closely what to many of his contemporaries seemed 
sound philosophical reasoning under the light that has since burst upon 
us. Strictly orthodox though he professed to be, there were those, both 
among his own countrymen and foreigners, who could not read his 
speculative indictments of the workings of Nature without a shudder ; 
and it is easy for any one in these days to frame a reply, pointed with 
ridicule, to such a chapter as he wrote on the wretched fate of the Wood- 
pecker. In the nine volumes devoted to the Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux 
there are passages which will for ever live in the memory of those that 
carefully read them, however much occasional expressions, or even the 
general tone of the author, may grate upon their feelings. He too was 
the first man who formed any theory that may be called reasonable of 
the Geographical Distribution of Animals, though this theory was 
scarcely touched in the ornithological portion of his work, and has since 
proved to be not in accordance with facts. He proclaimed the variability 
of species in opposition to the views of Linnseus as to their fixity, and 
moreover supposed that this variability arose in part by degradation.^ 
Taking his labours as a whole, there cannot be a doubt that he enormously 
enlarged the purview of naturalists, and, even if limited to Birds, that, 
on the completion of his work upon them in 1783, Ornithology stood in 
a very different position from that which it had before occupied. Because 
he opposed the system of Linnaeus he has been said to be opposed to 
systems in general ; but that is scarcely correct, for he had a system of 
his own ; and, as we now see it, it appears neither much better nor much 
worse than the systems which had been hitherto invented, or perhaps 
than any which was propounded for many years to come. It is certain 
that he despised any kind of scientific phraseology — a crime in the eyes 
of those who consider precise nomenclature to be the end of science ; but 
those who deem it merely a means whereby knowledge can be securely 
stored will take a different view — and have done so. 

Great as were the services of Buffon to Ornithology in one direction, 
those of a wholly different kind rendered by our countryman John 
Latham must not be overlooked. In 1781 he began a work the practical 
utility of which was immediately recognized. This was his General 
Synopsis of Birds, and, though formed generally on the model of Linnseus 
greatly diverged in some respects therefrom. The classification was 
modified, chiefly on the older lines of Willughby and Ray, and certainly 
for the better ; but no scientific nomenclature was adopted, which, as the 
author subsequently found, was a change for the worse. His scope was 
co-extensive with that of Brisson, but Latham did not possess the inborn 
faculty of picking out the characters wherein one species differs from another. 
His opportunities of becoming acquainted with Birds were hardly inferior 
to Brisson's, for during Latham's long lifetime there poured in upon him 
countless new discoveries from all parts of the world, but especially from 
the newly -explored shores of Australia and the islands of the Pacific Ocean. 

^ See Prof. Mivart's address to the Section of Biology, Mep. Brit. Association 
(Slieffield Meeting), 1879, p. 356. 


The British Museum had been formed, and he had access to everything 
it contained in addition to the abundant materials afforded him by the 
private Museum of Sir Ashton Lever.^ Latham entered, so far as the 
limits of his work would allow, into the history of the Birds he described, 
and this with evident zest, whereby he differed from his French pre- 
decessor ; but the number of cases in which he erred as to the determina- 
tion of his species must be very great, and not imfrequently the same 
species is described more than once. His ^ynofsis was finished in 1785 ; 
two supplements were added in 1787 and 1802,^ and in 1790 he pro- 
duced a Latin abstract of the work under the title of Index O'rnithologicus, 
wherein he assigned names on the Linnaean method to all the species 
described. Not to recur again to his labours, it may be said here that 
between 1821 and 1828 he published at Winchester, in eleven volumes, 
an enlarged edition of his original work, entitling it A General History of 
Birds ; but his defects as a compiler, which had been manifest before, 
rather increased with age, and the consequences were not happy. ^ 

About the time that Buffon was bringing to an end his studies of 
Birds, Mauduyt undertook to write the Ornithologie of the Encydoiyedie 
Methodiqits — a comparatively easy task, considering the recent works of 
his fellow-countrymen on that subject, and finished in 1784. Here it 
requires no further comment, especially as a new edition was called for in 
1790, the ornithological portion of which was begun by Bonnaterre, who, 
however, had only finished 320 pages of it when he lost his life in the 
French Revolution ; and the work thus arrested was continued by Vieillot 
under the slightly changed title of Tableau, encyclope'dique et methodique des 
trois regnes de la Nature — the Ornithologie forming volumes four to seven, 
and not completed till 1823. In the former edition Mauduyt had taken 
the subjects alphabetically ; but here they are disposed according to an 
arrangement, with some few modifications, furnished by D'Aubenton, 
which is extremely shallow and unworthy of consideration. 

Several other works bearing upon Ornithology in general, but of less 
importance than most of those just named, belong to this period. Among 
others may be mentioned the Genera of Birds by Thomas Pennant, first 
printed at Edinburgh in 1773 in octavo, and very rare, but well known 
by the quarto edition which appeared in London in 1781 ; the Elementa 
Ornithologica * and Museum Ornithologicum of Schaffer, published at Eatis- 
bon in 1774 and 1784 respectively ; Peter Brown's New Illustrations of 
Zoology in London in 1776 ; Hermann's Tabids Affinitatum Animalium 
at Strasburg in 1783, followed posthumously in 1804 by his Observationes 

^ In 1792 Shaw began the Museum Leverianum, in illustration of this collection, 
which was finally dispersed by sale in 1806, and what is known to remain of it found 
its way either to the collection of the then Lord Stanley (afterwards 13th Earl of 
Derby), and was, at his death in 1851, bequeathed to the Liverpool Museum, or to 
Vienna [Ibis, 1873, pp. 14-54, 105-124; 1874, p. 461). Of the specimens in the 
British Museum described by Latham not one exists. They were probably very im- 
perfectly prepared. 

" A German translation by Bechstein subsequently appeared. 

3 He also prepared for publication a second edition of his hidex OmithologicuSy 
which was never printed, and the manuscript is now in my possession. 

* The so-called second edition (1779) of this has only a new title-page. 


Zoologies^ ; Jacquin's Beytracge zur Geschuhte der Voegel at Vienna in 1784, 
and in 1790 at the same place the larger work of Spalowsky with nearly 
the same title ; Sparrman's Museum Garlsonianum at Stockholm from 
1786 to 1789; and in 1794 Hayes's Portraits of rare and curious Birds 
from the menagery of Child the banker at Osterley near London. The 
same draughtsman (who had in 1775 produced a bad History of British 
Birds) in 1822 began another series of Figures of rare and curious 

The practice of Brisson, Buffon, Latham and others of not giving 
names after the Linneean fashion .to the species they described gave great 
encouragement to compilation, and led to what has proved to be of some 
inconvenience to modern ornithologists. In 1773 Philip Ludvig Statins 
MllUer brought out at Nuremberg a German translation of the Systema 
Naturse, completing it in 1776 by a Supplement containing a list of 
animals thus described, which had hitherto been technically anonymous, 
with diagnoses and names on the Linnsean model. In 1783 Boddaert 
printed at Utrecht a Tahle des Planches Enlumineez,^ in which he attempted 
to refer every species of Bird figured in that extensive series to its proper 
Linneean genus, and to assign it a scientific name if it did not already 
j)ossess one. In like manner in 1786, Scopoli — already the author of a 
little book published at Leipzig in 1769 under the title of Annus I. 
Historico-naturalis, in which are described many Birds, mostly from his 
own collection or the Imperial vivarium at Vienna — was at the pains to 
print at Pavia in his miscellaneous Delicix Fiords et Faunee Insuhricse a 
Specimen Zoologicum^ containing diagnoses, duly named, of the Birds 
discovered and described by Sonnerat in his Voyage aux Indes orientates 
and Voyage a la Nouvelle Guinee, severally published at Paris in 1772 
and 1776. But the most striking example of compilation was that 
exhibited by J. F, Gmelin, who in 1788 commenced what he called the 
Thirteenth Edition of the celebrated Systema Naturse, which obtained so 
wide a circulation that, in the comparative rarity of the original, the 
additions of this editor have been very frequently quoted, even by exj)ert 
naturalists, as though they were the work of the author himself. Gmelin 
availed himself of every publication he could, but he perhaps found his 
richest booty in the labours of Latham, neatly condensing his English 
descriptions into Latin diagnoses, and bestowing on them binomial names. 
Hence it is that Gmelin appears as the authority for so much of the 
nomenclature now in use. He took many liberties with the details of 

^ TJie Naturalist's Miscellany or Vivarium Naturale, in English and Latin, of 
Shaw and Nodder, the former being the author, the latter the draughtsman and 
engraver, was begun in 1789 and carried on till ShaAv's death, forming twenty-four 
volumes. It contains figures of more than 280 Birds, but very poorly executed. In 
1814 a sequel, The Zoological Miscellany, was begun by Leach, Nodder continuing to 
do the plates. This was completed in 1817, and forms three volumes with 149 j)lates, 
27 of which represent Birds. 

^ Of this work only fifty copies were printed, and it is one of the rarest known to 
the ornithologist. Only two copies are believed to exist in England, one in the 
British Museum, the other in private hands. It Avas reprinted in 1874 by Mr. 

^ This was reprinted in 1882 by the Willughby Society. 


Linnfeus's work, but left the classification, at least of the Birds, as it was 
— a few new genera excepted.^ 

During all this time little had been done in studying the internal 
structure of Birds since the works of Goiter already mentioned ; ^ but the 
foundations of the science of Embryology had been laid by the investiga- 
tions into the development of the chick by the great Harvey. Between 
1666 and 1669 Perrault edited at Paris eight accounts of the dissection 
by Du Verney of as many species of Birds, which, translated into English, 
were published by the Eoyal Society in 1702, under the title of The 
Natural History of Animals. After the death of the two anatomists just 
named, another series of similar descriptions of eight other species was 
found among their papers, and the whole were published in the Memoires 
of the French Academy of Sciences in 1733 and 1734. But in 1681 
Gerard Blasius had brought out at Amsterdam an Anatorae Animalium, 
containing the results of all the dissections of animals that he could find ; 
and the second part of this book, treating of Volatilia, makes a respectable 
show of more than 120 closely-printed quarto pages, though nearly two- 
thirds is devoted to a treatise Be Ovo et PvMo, containing among other 
things a reprint of Harvey's researches, and the scientific rank of the 
whole book may be inferred from Bats being still classed with Birds. In 
1720 Valentini published, at Frankfort-on-the-Main, his Arnphitheatrura 
Zootomicura, in which again most of the existing accounts of the anatomy 
of Birds were reprinted. But these and many other contributions,^ made 
until nearly the close of the eighteenth century, though highly meritorious, 
were unconnected as a whole, and it is plain that no conception of what 
it was in the power of Gomparative Anatomy to set forth had occurred to 
the most diligent dissectors. This privilege was reserved for Georges 
Guvier, who in 1798 published at Paris his Tableau ^lementaire de Vhistoire 
naturelle des Anvmaux, and thus laid the foundation of a thorough and 
hitherto unknown mode of appreciating the value of the various groiips 
of the Animal Kingdom. Yet his first attempt was a mere sketch.* 
Though he made a perceptible advance on the classification of Linnseus, 
at that time predominant, it is now easy to see in how many ways — want 
of sufficient material being no doubt one of the chief — Gu\"ier failed to 
produce a really natural arrangement. His principles, however, are those 
which must still guide taxonomers, notwithstanding that they have in so 
great a degree overthrown the entire scheme which he jDropounded. 
Cuvier's arrangement of the Glass Aves is now seen to be not very much 

1 Daiidin's unfinished Traife elementaire et complet d'Ornithologie appeared at 
Paris in 1800, and therefore is the last of these general works published in the 
eighteenth centiiry. 

- A succinct notice of the older works on Ornithotomy is given by Prof. Selenka in 
the introduction to that portion of Bronn's Kla^sen unci Ordnungen des Thierreichs 
relating to Birds (pp. 1-9) published in 1869 ; and Prof. Carus's Geschichte der 
Zoologie, published in 1872, may also be usefully consulted for further information 
on this and other heads. 

" The treatises of the two Bartholinis and Borrichius published at Copenhagen 
deserve mention if only to record the activity of Danish anatomists in those days. 

■• It had no effect on Lacepwle, who in the following year added a Tableau 
Melliodique containing a classification of Birds to his Discours d'Ouverture (Mem. de 
I'lnsiiiut, iii. pp. 454-468, 503-519). 


better than any wliicli it superseded, thongli this view is gained by follow- 
ing the methods which Cuvier taught. In the Tvork just mentioned few 
details are given; but even the more elaborate classitication of Birds 
contained in his Lecons cPAnatoinie Camparee of 1805 is based wholly on 
external characters, such as had been used by nearly all his predecessors ; 
and the Hegnc Animal of 1817, when he M'as in his fullest vigour, aiforded 
not the least evidence that he had ever dissected a couple even of Birds ^ 
with the object of determining their relative position in his system, which 
then, as before, depended wholly on the configuration of bills, wings and 
feet. But, though apparently without such a knowledge of the anatomy 
of Birds as would enable him to ajiply it to the formation of that natural 
system which he was fully aware had yet to be sought, he seems to have 
been an excellent judge of the characters afforded by the bill and limbs, 
and the use he made of them, coupled with the extraordinary reputation 
he acquired on other grounds, procured for his system the adhesion for 
many years of the majority of ornithologists. Eegret mxist always be 
felt by them that his great genius was never applied in earnest to their 
branch of study, especially when we consider that had it been so the 
perversion of energy in regard to the classification of Birds witnessed in 
England for nearly twenty years, and presently to be mentioned, would 
most likely have been prevented.- 

Hithorto mention has chiefly been made of works on General Orui- 
thology, but it will be understood that these were largely aided by the 
enterprise of travellers, and as there were many of them who published 
their narratives in separate forms, their contributions have to be considered. 
Of those travellers, then, the first to be here especially named is.Marsigli, 
the fifth volume of whose Danuhim Pannomco-Mysicus is devoted to the 
Birds he met with in the valley of the Danttbe, and appeared at the 
Hague in 1725, followed by a French translation in 1744.8 Most of the 
many pupils whom Linnc^us sent to foreign countries submitted their 
discoA'eries to him, but the respective travels of Kalm, Hasselqvist and 
Osbeck in North America, the Levant and China were pitblished separ- 
ately.-* The incessant journeys of PaDas and his colleagues — Falk. 
Georgi, J. G. and S. G. Gmelin, Giildenstadt, Lepechin and others — in 

■^ So little regard did he pay to the Osteology of Birds that, according to De 
Blainville (Jour, dc P/u/s. xcii. p. IS", note), the skeleton of a Fowl to which was 
attached the head of a Hornbill was for a long time exhibited in the Mnseum of 
Comparative Anatomy at Paris ! Yet, in order to determine the diflerence of struc- 
ture in their organs of voice, Cuvier, as he says in his Lecons (iv. p. 464), dissected 
more than 150 species of Birds, Unfortunately for him, as will appear in the sequel, 
it seems not to have occiu-red to him to use any of the restilts he obtained as the basis 
of a classitication. 

- It is imnecessary to enumerate the various editions of the Bcffiie Ani'jnaL Of 
the English translations, that edited by Griffiths and Pidgeon is the most complete. 
The ornithological portion of it, contained in three volumes, received many additions 
from John Edward Gray, and appeared in 1S29, but even at that time must have been 
lamentably deficient. 

^ Though much later in date, the Iter jper Poseganam Sdavonix of Filler and 
Mitterpacher, published at Buda in 1783, may perhaps be here most conveniently 

■* The results of Forskal's travels in the Levant, published after his death by 
Niebuhr, require mention, though the ornithology they contain is but scant. 


tlie exploration of tlie recently extended Eussian empire supplied not only 
much material to the Commentarii and Acta of the Academy of St. 
Petersburg, but more that is to be found in their narratives — all of it being 
of the highest interest to students of Holarctic Ornithology. Nearly the 
whole of their results, it may here be said, were summed up in the important 
Zoographia Eosso-Asiatica of the first-named naturalist, two volumes of 
which saw the light in 1811, — the year of its author's death, — but, owing 
to circumstances over which he had no control, were not generally accessible 
till twenty years later. Of still wider interest are the accounts of Cook's 
three famous voyages, though unhappily much of the information gained 
by the naturalists who accompanied him on one or more of them seems to 
be irretrievably lost : the original observations of the elder Forster were 
not printed till 1844, and the valuable series of zoological drawings made 
by the younger Forster and William Ellis still remain unpublished in the 
British Museum. The several accounts by John White, Collins, Phillip, 
Hunter and others, of the colonization of New South Wales at the end of 
the last century, ought not to be overlooked by any Australian orni- 
thologist. The only information belonging to this period on the Orni- 
thology of -South America is contained in the two works on Chili by 
Molina, published at Bologna in 1776 and 1782. The travels of Le 
Vaillant in South Africa having ended in 1785, his great Oiseaux 
d'Afrique began to appear in Paris in 1797 ;i but it is hard to speak 
patiently of this work, for several of the species described in it are 
certainly not, and never were inhabitants of that country — admittedly 
so in some cases, though in others he gives a long account of the circum- 
stances in which he observed them.^ 

From travellers who employ themselves in collecting the animals of 
any distant country the zoologists who stay at home and study those of 
their own district, be it great or small, are really not so much divided as 
at first might appear. Both may well be named " Faunists," and of the 
latter there were not a few who having turned their attention more or 
less to Ornithology should here be mentioned, and first among them 
Rzaczynski, who in 1721 brought out at Sandomirsk the Historia naturalis 
curiosa regni Poloniee, to which an Auctuarium was posthumously published 
at Danzig in 1742. This also may be perhaps the most proper place to 
notice the Historia Avium Hungarise, of Grossinger, published at Posen in 
1793. In 1734 J. L. Frisch began the long series of works on the Birds 
of Germany with which the literature of Ornithology is enriched, b}^ his 
Vorstellung der Vcigel TeutscJilands, which was only completed in 1763, and, 
its coloured plates proving very attractive, was again issued at Berlin in 
1817. The little fly-sheet of Zorn^ — for it is scarcely more — on the 

^ In 1798 lie issued a duodecimo edition of this work, which seems to be little 
known. Two volumes, extending to No. 117 of the folio edition, are in my posses- 
sion, but I cannot say whether more appeared. His large work failed to obtain 
support, and finished with its si.xth volume in 1808. 

- It has been charitably suggested that, his collection and notes having suffered 
shipwreck, he was induced to supply the latter from his memory and the former by 
the nearest approach to his lost specimens that he could obtaiu. This explanation, 
poor as it is, fails, however, in regard to some species. 

^ His earlier work under the title of Petinotheologic can hardly be deemed scieutitic. 


Birds of the Hercynian Forest made its appearance at Pappenheim in 
1745. In 1756 Kramer published at Vienna a modest Ele7ichus of the 
plants and animals of Lower Austria, and J. D. Petersen produced at 
Altona in 1766 a Verzeichniss halthisclur Vogel ; while in 1791 J. B. 
Fischer's Versucli einer Naturgeschichte von Livland appeared at Konigs- 
berg. Next year Beseke brought out at Mitau his Beytrag zur Naturge- 
schichte der Vogel Kiorlmids, and in 1794 Siemssen's Handbuch of the 
Birds of Mecklenburg was published at Kostock. But these works, 
locally useful as they may have been, did not occupy the whole attention 
of German ornithologists, for in 1791, Bechstein reached the second 
volume of his Gemeinniitzige Naturgeschichte Deutschlands, treating of the 
Birds of that country, which ended with the fourth in 1795. Of this an 
abridged edition by the name of Ornithologisches Taschenbuch appeared in 
1802 and 1803, with a supplement in 1812 ; while between 1805 and 
1809 a fuller edition of the original was issued. Moreover in 1795 
J. A. Naumann humbly began at Cothen a treatise on the Birds of the 
principality of Anhalt, which on its completion in 1804 was found to 
have swollen into an ornithology of Northern Germany and the neigh- 
.bouring countries. Eight supplements were successively published be- 
tween 1805 and 1817, and in 1822 a new edition was required. This 
Naturgeschichte der Vogel Deutschlands, being almost wholly re- written by 
his son J. F. Naumann, is by far the best thing of the kind as yet pro- 
duced in any country. The fulness and accuracy of the text combined 
with the neat beauty of its coloured plates, have gone far to promote the 
study of Ornithology in Germany, and while essentially a popular work, 
since it is suited to the comprehension of all readers, it is throughout 
written with a simple dignity that commends it to the serious and 
scientific. Its twelfth and last volume was published in 1844 — by no 
means too long a period for so arduous and honest a performance, — and a 
supplement was begun in 1847 ; but, the author dying in 1857, this 
continuation was finished in 1860 by the joint eff'orts of J. H. Blasius and 
Baldamus. In 1800 Borkhausen with others commenced at Darmstadt a 
Teutsche Ornithologie in folio which appeared at intervals till 1812, and 
remains unfinished, though a reissue of the portion published took place 
between 1837 and 1841. 

Other countries on the Continent, though not quite so prolific as 
Germany, bore some ornithological fruit at this period ; but in all 
Southern Europe only four faunal products can be named : — the Saggio di 
Storia Naturale Bresciana of Pilati, published at Brescia in 1769 : the 
Ornitologia dell' Europa Meridionale of Bernini, published at Parma 
between 1772 and 1776 ; the Uccelli di Sardegna of Cetti, published at 
Sassari in 1776; and the Romana Ornithologia ot Gilius, published at 
Rome in 1781 — the last being in great part devoted to Pigeons and 
Poultry. More appeared in the North, for in 1770 Amsterdam sent forth 
the beginning of Nozeman's Nederlandsche Vogelen, a fairly -illustrated 
work in folio, but only completed by Houttuyn in 1829, and in Scan- 
dinavia most of all was done. In 1746 the great Linnaeus had produced 
a Fauna Svecica, of which a second edition appeared in 1761, and a third 
revised by Retzius in 1800. In 1764 Briinnich published at Copenhagen 


Ms Ornithologia Borealis, a compendious sketch of the Birds of all the 
countries then subject to the Danish crown. At the same place appeared 
in 1767 Leem's work De Lapponibus Finmarchiee, to which Gunnerus 
contributed some good notes on the Ornithology of Northern Norway, 
and at Copenhagen and Leipzig was published in 1780 the Fauna 
Groenlandica of Otho Fabricius. 

Of strictly American origin can here be cited only Bartram's Travels 
through North and South Carolina and Barton's Fragments of the Natural 
History of Pennsylvania,^ both printed at Philadelphia, one in 1791, the 
other in 1799 ; but J. K. Forster published a Catalogue of the Animals 
of North America in London in 1771, and the following year described in 
the Philosophical Transactions a few Birds from Hudson's Bay.^ A 
greater undertaking was Pennant's Arctic Zoology, published in 1785, 
with a supplement in 1787. The scope of this work was originally 
intended to be limited to North America, but circumstances induced him 
to include all the species of Northern Europe and Northern Asia, and 
though not free from errors, it is a praiseworthy performance, A second 
edition appeared in 1792. The Ornithology of Britain naturally demands 
greater attention. The earliest list of British Birds we possess is, as . 
already stated, that in Merrett's Pinax Berum Naturalium Britannicarum, 
printed in London in 1666.^ In 1677 Plot published his Natural History 
of Oxfordshire, which reached a second edition in 1705, and in 1686 that 
of Staffordshire. A similar work on Lancashire, Cheshire and the Peak was 
sent out in 1700 by Leigh, and one on Cornwall by Borlase in 1758 — 
all these four being printed at Oxford. In 1766 appeared Pennant's 
British Zoology, a well-illustrated folio, of which a second edition in octavo 
was published in 1768, and considerable additions (forming the nominally 
third edition) in 1770, while in 1777 there were two issues, one in octavo 
the other in quarto, each called the fourth edition. In 1812, long after 
the author's death, another edition was printed, of which his son-in-law 
Hanmer was the reputed editor, but he received much assistance from 
Latham, and through carelessness many of the additions herein made have 
often been ascribed to Pennant himself. In 1769 Berkenhout gave to the 
world his Outlines of the Natural History of Great Britain and Ireland, which 
reappeared under the title of Synopsis of the same in 1795, Tunstall's 
Ornithologia Britannica, which was issued in 1771, is little more than a 
list of names.* Hayes's Natural History of British Birds, a folio of forty 
plates and corresponding text, shewing much ignorance of them on the 
part of the author, appeared between 1771 and 1775. In 1781 Nash's 

1 This rare book lias been reprinted by the Willugbby Society. 

^ Both of these treatises have also been reprinted by the Williighby Society. 

^ In 1667 there were two issues of a reprint of this book ; one, nominally a second 
edition, only differs from the other in having a new title-page. In anticijiation of a 
revised edition Sir Thomas Browne prepared in or about 1671 (?) his "Account of 
Birds found in Norfollc," of which the draught, now in the British Museum, was 
printed in his collected works by Wilkin in 1835. If a fair copy was ever nuulo its 
resting-place is unknown. 

* It has been republished by the Willughby Society. Of similar character is 
FothergiU's Ornithologia Jiritannica, a mere list of names, Latin and English, juiuti'd 
in small folio at York in 1799. 


Worcestershire included a few ornitliological notices ; andWalcott in 1789 
published an illustrated Synopsis of British Birds, coloured copies of which 
are rare. Simultaneously William Lewin commenced his Birds of Great 
Britain, in 7 quarto volumes, the last of which appeared in 1794, a 
re-issue of the whole in 8 volumes following between 1795 and 1801. 
In 1791 J. Heysham added to Hutchins's Oumherland a list of birds of 
that county, while in the same year began Thomas Lord's Entire New 
System of Ornithology, or (Ecumenical History of British Birds, the un- 
grammatical text professedly written, or corrected, by Dr. Dupree, a 
pretentious and worthless work of which 38 parts were published in the 
course of the next five years. In 1794 Donovan commenced a History 
of British Birds which was only finished in 1819 — the earlier portion 
being reissued about the same time. Bolton's Harmonia Buralis, an 
account of British Song-Birds, first appeared between 1794 and 1796. 
Other editions followed, one even 50 years later. ^ 

All the foregoing British publications yield in importance to two that 
remain to be mentioned. In 1767 Pennant, several of whose works have 
already been named, entered into correspondence with Gilbert White, 
receiving from him much information, almost wholly drawn from his own 
observation, for the succeeding editions of the British Zoology. In 1769 
White began exchanging letters of a similar character with Barrington. 
The epistolary intercourse with the former continued imtil 1780, and with 
the latter until 1787. In 1789 White's share of the correspondence, 
together with some miscellaneous matter, was published as The Natural 
History of Selborne — from the name of the village in which he lived. 
Observations on Birds form the principal though by no means the whole 
theme of this book, which may be safely said to have done more to pro- 
mote a love of Ornithology in this country than any other work that has 
been written, nay more than all the other works (except one next to be 
mentioned) put together. It has passed through a far greater number of 
editions than any other work on Natural History in the whole world, and 
has become emphatically an English classic — the graceful simplicity of 
its style, the elevating tone of its spirit and the sympathetic chords it 
strikes recommending it to every lover of nature, while the severely 
scientific reader can find few errors in the statements it contains, 
whether of matter-of-fact or opinion. It is almost certain that more than 
half the zoologists of the British Islands for the past eighty yeg,rs or more 
have been infected with their love of the study by Gilbert White ; and 
it can hardly be supposed that his influence will cease. ^ 

■'■ I cannot vouch for the complete accuracy of some of the dates given above. 
They have puzzled even that accomplished bibliographer Dr. Coues. It was nobody's 
business in those days to record the precise time of appearance of a work published 
In parts, and the date, when given at the foot of the plates, cannot always be trusted. 

^ Next to the original edition, that known as Bennett's, published in 1837, which 
was reissued in 1875 by Mr. Harting, was long deemed the best ; but it must give 
place to that of Bell, which appeared in 1877, and contains much additional informa- 
tion of great interest. But the editions of Markwick, Herbert, Blyth and Jardine 
all possess features of merit. An elaborately prepared edition, issued in 1875 by 
one who gained great reputation as a naturalist, only shews his ignorance and his 
vulgarity. Since that time several popular writers have essayed other editions, 
though their labour may have been limited to the production of a preface in which 


The other work to the importance of which on Ornithology in this 
country allusion has been made is Bewick's History of British Birds. 
The first volume of this, containing the Land-Birds, appeared in 1797^ — 
the text being, it is understood, by Beilby — the second, containing the 
Water-Birds, in 1804. The woodcuts illustrating this work are generally 
of surpassing excellence, and it takes rank in the category of artistic 
publications. Fully admitting the extraordinary execution of the engrav- 
ings, every ornithologist may perceive that as portraits of the Birds 
represented they are of very unequal merit. Some of the figures were 
drawn from stufi'ed specimens, and accordingly perpetuate all the imper- 
fections of the original ; others delineate species with the appearance of 
which the artist was not familiar, and these are either wanting in expres- 
sion or are caricatures ;^ but those that were drawn from live Birds, or 
represent species which he knew in life, are worthy of all praise. It is 
well known that the earlier editions of this work, especially if they be 
upon large paper, command extravagant prices ; but in reality the copies 
on smaller paper are now the rarer, for the stock of them has been con- 
sumed in nurseries and schoolrooms, where they have been torn up or 
worn out with incessant use. Moreover, whatever the lovers of the fine 
arts may say, it is nearly certain that the " Bewick Collector " is mistaken 
in attaching so high a value to these old editions, for owing to the want 
of skill in printing — indifferent ink being especially assigned as one cause 
— many of the earlier issues fail to shew the most delicate touches of the 
engraver, which the increased care bestowed upon the edition of 1847 
(published under the supervision of the late John Hancock) has revealed, 
— though it must be admitted that certain blocks have suflered from wear 
of the press so as to be incapable of any more producing the effect intended. 
Of the text it may be said that it is respectable, but no more. It has 
given satisfaction to thousands of readers in time past, and will, it may 
be hoped, give satisfaction to thousands in time to come. 

The existence of these two works explains the widely-spread taste for 
Ornithology in this country, which is to foreigners so puzzling, and the 

they generally contrive to disi)lay their incompetence. A more remarkable feature 
is the publication of a fairly printed edition at the price of sixpence ! A curiously 
compressed German translation by F. A. A. Meyer appeared at Berlin in 1792, under 
the title of Beytrdge zur Naturgeschichte von England ; and more than one reprint, 
apparently of Lady Dover's "Bowdlerized" edition of 1833, has been issued in 
America (c/. Coues, Froc. U. S. Nat. Mus. ii. p. 429). For information as to different 
editions published prior to and including that of Bell, see Notes and Queries, ser. 5, 
vii. pp. 241, 264, 296, 338, 471, viii. p. 304, and i.\'. p. 150. 

The imitators of Gilbert White are countless. More than one has admittedly 
produced a very pretty book ; but on essaying a second the falling off is manifest. 
Others at once shew their shallowness, and good as may be their intention, their 
observations, however pleasant to read, are utterly valueless. Such writers can 
seldom rid themselves of the consciousness of their own personality, the absence of 
which is so charming in the author they more or less unconsciously mimic. 

^ There were two issues — virtually two editions — of this with the same date on 
the title-page, though one of them is said not to have been published till the following 
year. Among several other indicia tliis may be recognized by the woodcut of the 
"Sea Eagle" at page 11 bearing at its base the inscription "Wycliffe, 1791," and by 
the additional misprint on page 145 of Salixniclus for Schwttidu^. 

2 This is especially observable in the ligures of the Birds-of-Prey. 


zeal — not always according to knowledge, but occasionally reaching to 
serious study — with which that taste is pursued. 

Having thus noticed, and it is to be hoped pretty thoroughlj^, the 
chief ornithological works begun if not completed prior to the commence- 
ment of the present centiiry, together with their immediate sequels, those 
which follow will require a very different mode of treatment, for their 
niimber is so great that it would be impossible for want of space to deal 
with them in the same extended fashion, though the attempt will finally 
lie made to enter into details in the case of works constituting the founda- 
tion upon which apparently the superstructure of the future science has 
to be built. It ought not to need stating that much of what was, com- 
paratively speaking, only a few years ago regarded as scientific labour is 
now no longer to be so considered. The mere fact that the principle of 
Evolution, and all its admission carries with it, has been accepted in some 
form or other by almost all naturalists, has rendered obsolete nearly every 
theory that had hitherto been broached, and in scarcely any branch of 
zoological research was theory more rife than in Ornithology. One of these 
theories must presently be noticed at some length on account of the 
historical importance which attaches to its malefic effects in impeding the 
progress of true Ornithology in Britain ; but charity enjoins us to consign 
all the rest as much as possible to oblivion. 

On reviewing the progress of Ornithology since the end of the last 
century, the first thing that will strike us is the fact that general works, 
though still undertaken, have become proportionally fewer, and such as 
exist are apt to consist of mere explanations of systematic methods that 
had already been more or less fully propounded, while special works, 
whether relating to the ornithic portion of the Fauna of any particular 
country, or limited to certain groups of Birds — works to which of late 
years the name of " Monograph " has become wholly restricted — have 
become far more numerous. But this seems to be the natural law in all 
sciences, and its cause is not far to seek. As the knowledge of any 
branch of study extends, it outgrows the opportunities and capabilities of 
most men to follow it as a whole ; and, since the true naturalist, by 
reason of the irresistible impulse which drives him to work, cannot be 
idle, he is compelled to confine his energies to narrower fields of investiga- 
tion. That in a general way this is for some reason to be regretted is 
true ; but, like all natural operations, it carries with it some recompense, 
and the excellent work done by so-called " specialists " has over and over 
again proved of the greatest use to advancement in different departments 
of science, and in none more than in Ornithology.^ 

Another change has come over the condition of Ornithology, as of 
kindred sciences, induced by the multiplication of learned societies which 
issue publications, as well as of periodicals of greater or less scientific 
pretension — the latter generally enjoying a circulation far wider than the 

^ The trutli of the preceding remarks may be so obvious to most men who have 
acquaintance with the subject that their introduction here may seem unnecessary ; 
but it is certain that the facts they state have been very little appreciated by many 
■writers who profess to give an account of the progress of Natural History during the 
present century. 


former. Both kinds increase yearly, and the desponding mind may fear 
the possibility of its favourite study expiring through being smothered by 
its own literature. Without anticipating such a future disaster, and look- 
ing merely to what has gone before, it is necessary here to premise that, 
in the observations which immediately follow, treatises which have 
appeared in the publications of learned bodies or in other scientific 
periodicals must, except they be of prime importance, be hereinafter 
passed unnoticed ; but their omission will be the less felt because the 
more recent of those of a " faunal " character are generally mentioned in 
the text (Geogeaphical Distribution) under the different countries with 
which they deal, while reference to the older of these treatises is usually 
given by the writers of the newer. Still it seems advisable here to 
furnish some connected accoiint of the progress made in the ornitho- 
logical knowledge of those countries in which the readers of the present 
volume may be supposed to take the most lively interest — namely, 
the British Islands and those parts of the Euroj)ean continent which lie 
nearest to them or are most commonly sought by travellers, the 
Dominion of Canada and the United States of America, the British West 
Indies, South Africa, India, together with Australia and New Zealand. 
The more important Monographs, again, will usually be found cited in 
the series of special articles contained in this work, though, as will be 
immediately perceived, there are some so-styled Monographs, which by 
reason of the changed views of classification that at present obtain, have 
lost their restricted character, and for all practical purposes have now to 
be regarded as general works. 

It will perhaps be most convenient to begin by mentioning some of 
these last, and in particular a number of them which appeared at Paris 
early in this century. First in order of them is the Histoire Naturelle 
(Vune ]partie d'Oiseaux nouveaux et rares cle VAmerique et des Indes, a folio 
volume 1 published in 1801 by Le Vaillant. This is devoted to the 
very distinct and not nearly-allied groups of Hornbills and of Birds 
which for want of a better name w^e call "Chatterers," and is illus- 
trated, like those works of ■which a notice immediately follows, by 
coloured plates, done in what was then considered to be the highest style 
of art and by the best draughtsmen procurable. The first volume of a 
Histoire Naturelle des Perroquets, a companion work by the same author, 
appeared in the same year, and is truly a Monograph, since the Parrots 
constitute a Family of Birds so naturally severed from all others, that 
there has rarely been anything else confounded with them. The second 
volume came out in 1805, and a third -was issued in 1837-38 long after 
the death of its predecessor's author, by Bourjot St.-Hilaire. Between 
1803 and 1806 Le Vaillant also published in just the same style two 
volvimes with the title of Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux de Paradis et des 
Rolliers, suivie de cclle des Toiicans et des Barbus, an assemblage of forms, 
which, miscellaneous as it is, was surpassed in incongruity by a fourth 
work on the same scale, the Histoire Naturelle des Promerops et des 
GuSpiers, des Couroucous et des Touracos, for herein are found Jays, Wax- 

^ There is also an issue of this, as of the same author's other works, on large 
quarto paper. 


wings, tlie Cock-of-tlie-Rock (Eupicola) and what not besides. The 
plates in this last are by Barraband, for many years regarded as the 
perfection of ornithological artists, and indeed the figures, when they 
happen to have been drawn from the life, are not bad ; but his skill was 
quite unable to vivify the preserved specimens contained in Museums, 
and when he had only these as subjects he simply copied the distortions 
of the " bird-stuffer." The following year, 1808, being aided by Tem- 
minck of Amsterdam, of whose son we shall presently hear more, Le 
Vaillant brought out the sixth volume of his Oiseaux d'Afrique, already 
mentioned. Four more volumes of this work were promised ; but the 
means of executing them were denied to him, and, though he lived until 
1824, his publications ceased. 

A similar series of works was projected and begun about the same 
time as that of Le Vaillant by Audebert and Vieillot, though the former, 
who was by profession a painter and illustrated the work, had died more 
than a year before the appearance of the two volumes, bearing date 
1802, and entitled Oiseaux dore's ou a reflets m^talliques, the effect of the 
plates in which he sought to heighten by the use of gilding. The first 
volume contains the " Colibris, Oiseaux -mouches, Jacamars et Pro- 
merops," the second the " Grimpereaux-" and " Oiseaux de Paradis " — - 
associations which set all the laws of systematic method at defiance. 
His colleague, Vieillot, brought out in 1805 a Histoire Naturelle des i^^us 
beaux Ghantei(,rs de la Zone Torride with figures by Langlois of tropical 
Finches, Grosbeaks, Buntings and other hard-billed Birds; and in 1807 
two volumes of a Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux de VAm&ique Septen- 
trionale, without, however, paying much attention to the limits commonly 
assigned by geographers to that part of the world. In 1805 Anselme 
Desmarest published a Histoire Naturelle des Tangaras, des Manahins et 
des Todiers, which, though belonging to the same category as all the 
former, difters from them in its more scientific treatment of the subjects 
to which it refers ; and, in 1808, Temminck, whose father's aid to Le 
Vaillant has already been noticed, brought out at Paris a Histoire Naturelle 
des Pigeons, illustrated by Madame Knip, who had drawn the plates for 
Desmarest's volume.^ 

Since we have begun by considering these large illustrated works in 
which the text is made subservient to the coloured plates, it may be 
convenient to continue our notice of such others of similar character as 
it may be expedient to mention here, though thereby we shall be led 
somewhat far afield. Most of them are but luxuries, and there is some 
degree of truth in the remark of Andreas Wagner in his Eeport on the 
Progress of Zoology for 1843, drawn up for the Ray Society (p. 60), that 
they " are not adapted for the extension and promotion of science, but 
must inevitably, on account of their unnecessary costliness, constantly 
tend to reduce the number of naturalists who are able to avail them- 
selves of them, and they thus enrich ornithology only to its ultimate 

■"■ Temminck subsequently reproduced, with many additions, the text of this 
volume in his Histoire Naturelle des Pigeons et des Gallinacees, pi^blished at Am- 
sterdam in 1813-15, in 3 vols. 8vo. Between 1838 and 1848 Floreut-Provost brought 
out at Paris a further set of illustrations of Pigeons by Mdme. Knip. 


injury." Earliest in date, as it is greatest in bulk, stands Audubon's 
egregious Birds of America, in four volumes, containing 435 plates, 
of wbicli tbe first part appeared in London in 1827 and the last in 
1838.^ It seems not to have been the author's original intention to 
publish any letterpress to this enormous work, but to let the plates tell 
their own story, though finally, with the assistance, as is now known, of 
William Macgillivray, a text, on the whole more than respectable, was 
produced in five large octavos under the title of Ornithological Biography, 
of which more will be said in the sequel. Audubon has been greatly 
extolled as an ornithological artist ; but he was far too much addicted to 
representing his subjects in violent action and in postures that outrage 
nature, while his drawing is very frequently defective.^ In 1866 Mr. 
D. G. Elliot began, and in 1869 finished, a sequel to Audubon's great 
work in two volumes, on the same scale — The New and hitherto Unfigured 
Species of the Birds of North America, containing life-size figures of all 
those which had been added to its fauna since the completion of the 

In 1830 John Edward Gray commenced the Illustrations of Indian 
Zoology, a series of plates, mostly of Birds, from drawings by native 
artists in the collection of General Hardvvicke, whose name is therefore 
associated with the work. Scientific names are assigned to the species 
figured ; but no text was ever supplied. In 1832 Lear, well known as a 
painter, brought out his Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidse, a volume 
which deserves especial notice from the fidelity to nature and the artistic 
skill with which the figures were executed. 

This same year (1832) saw the beginning of the marvellous series 
of works by which the name of John Gould is likely to be always re- 
membered. A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Moxmtains was 
followed by The Birds of Europe, in five volumes, published between 
1832 and 1837, while in 1834 afppeared A Monograph of the Ramphas- 
tidse, of which a second edition was some years later called for ; and then 
the Icones Avium, of which only two parts were published (1837-38), 
while A Monograph of the Trogonidse. (1838), also reached a second edition 
(1858-75). In 1837-38 he also brought out the first two parts of his 
Birds of Australia, but speedily perceiving that he could not do justice 
to the ornithology of the vast island-continent without visiting it, he 
suspended the publication, and in 1838 sailed for New South AVales. 
Returning thence in 1840, he at once cancelled the portion he had 
issued and commenced anew this, the greatest of all his works, which was 

■'■ In contrast to this, the largest of ornithological works, I may mention a 
Histoire Naturelle en Miniature de de [sic] 48 Oiscaux (96 pp. Paris : 1816). The 
only copy I have seen appears to be in the original calf binding, and measures 2"6 by 
2 '15 inches. I am indebted for the loan of it to Mr. Kobert Service. 

■•^ On the completion of these two works, for they must be regarded as distinct, 
an octavo edition in seven volumes under the title of The Birds of America was 
published in 1840-44. In this the large plates were reduced by means of the 
'^camera lueida," the text was revised, and the whole systematically arranged. 
Other reprints have since been issued, but they are vastly inferior both in execution 
and value. A sequel to the octavo Birds of America, corresponding with it in form, 
was brought out in 1853-55 by Cassin as Illustrations of the Birds of California, 
Texas, Oregon, British and Itussian America. 


liuished iu 1848 iu seven volumes, to which five supplementary jjarts, 
forming another volume, were subsequently (1851-69) added. In 1849 
he began A Monograph of the Trochilidse or Humming-hirds, extending to 
five volumes, the last of which appeared in 1861, and has since been 
followed by a supplement by Dr. Sharpe, who since the author's death in 
1881 has completed The Birds of Asia, in seven volumes (1850-83), and 
The Birds of New Guinea, begun in 1875. A Monograph of the Odonto- 
fhorinse, or Partridges of America (1844-50), and The Birds of Great Britain, 
in five volumes (1862-73) make xip the wonderful tale consisting of 
more than forty folio volumes, and containing more than 3000 coloured 
plates.^ The earlier of these works were illustrated by Mrs. Gould, and 
the figures in them are fairly good ; but those in the later, except when 
(as he occasionally did) he secured the services of Mr. Wolf, are not so 
much to be commended. There is, it is true, a smoothness and finish 
about them not often seen elsewhere ; but, as though to avoid the 
exaggerations of Audubon, Gould usually adopted the tamest of attitudes 
in which to represent his subjects, whereby expression as well as vivacity 
is wanting. Moreover, both in drawing and in colouring there is fre- 
quently much that is untrue to nature, so that it has not uncommonly 
happened for them to fail in the chief object of all zoological plates, that 
of affording sure means of recognizing specimens on comparison. In 
estimating the letterpress, which was avowedly held to be of secondary 
importance to the plates, we must bear in mind that, to ensure the 
success of his works, it had to be written to suit a very peculiarly com- 
posed body of subscribers. Nevertheless a scientific character was so 
adroitly assumed that scientific men — some of them even ornithologists — 
have thence been led to believe the text had a scientific value, and that of 
a high class. However it must also be remembered that, throughout the 
whole of his career, Gould consulted the convenience of working orni- 
thologists by almost invariably refraining from including in his folio 
works the technical description of any new species without first pub- 
lishing it in some journal of comparatively easy access. 

An ambitious attempt to produce in England a general series of 
coloured plates on a large scale was Eraser's Zoologia Typica, the first 
part of which bears date 1841-42. Others appeared at irregular inter- 
vals until 1849, when the work, which never received the support it 
deserved, was discontinued. The 70 plates (46 of which represent 
Birds) composing, with some explanatory letterpress, the volume are by C. 
Cousens and H. N. Turner, — the latter (as his publications prove) a zoologist 
of much promise, who in 1851 died of a wound received in dissecting. 
The chief object of the author, who had been naturalist to the Niger 
Expedition, and curator to the Museum of the Zoological Society of 
London, was to figure the animals contained in its gardens or described 
iu its Proceedings, which until the year 1848 were not illustrated. 

The publication of the Zoological Sketches of Mr. Wolf, from animals 

•^ In 1850 Mr. F, H. Waterhouse brought out a careful pamphlet shewing The 
Dates of Publicatio7i of some of Gould's works, and ia 1893 Dr. Sharpe an Analytical 
Index to them. It is books of this kind that place the literature of ornithology so 
far in advance of that relating to any other branch of zoology. 


in the gardens of the Zoological Society, was begun about 1855, with a 
brief text by Mitchell, at that time the Society's secretary, in illustra- 
tion of them. After his death in 1859, the explanatory letterpress was 
rewritten by Mr. Sclater, his successor in that ofl&ce, and a volume was 
completed in 1861. Upon this a second series was commenced, and 
brought to an end in 1868. Though a comparatively small number of 
species of Birds are figured in this magnificent work (17 only in the 
first series, and 22 in the second), it must be mentioned here, for their 
likenesses are so admirably executed as to place it in regard to orni- 
thological portraiture at the head of all others. There is not a plate 
that is unworthy of the greatest of all animal painters. 

Proceeding to illustrated works generally of less pretentious size 
but of greater ornithological utility than the books last mentioned, 
which are fitter for the drawing-room than the study, we next have to 
consider some in which the text is not wholly subordinated to the 
plates, though the latter still form a conspicuous feature of the pub- 
lication. First of these in point of time as well as in importance is 
the Nouveau Recueil cles Planches Colorie'es d'Oiseaux of Ternminck and 
Laugier, intended as a sequel to the Planches Enluviinees of D'Aubenton 
before noticed, and like that work issued both in folio and quarto size. 
The first portion of this was published at Paris in 1820, and of its 102 
livraisons, which appeared with great irregularity (Ibis, 1868, p. 500), 
the last was issued in 1839, containing the titles of the five volumes 
that the whole forms, together with a "Tableau Methodique," which 
but indifferently serves the purpose of an index. There are 600 plates, 
but the exact number of species figured (which has been computed at 
661) is not so easily ascertained. Generally the subject of each plate 
has letterpress to correspond, but in some cases this is wanting, while on 
the other hand descriptions of species not figured are occasionally intro- 
duced, and usually observations on the distribution and construction of 
each genus or group are added. The plates, which shew no improve- 
ment on those of Martinet, are after drawings by Huet and Pretre, the 
former being perhaps the less bad draughtsman of the two, for he seems 
to have had an idea of what a bird when alive looks like, though he 
was not able to give his figures any vitality, while the latter simply 
delineated the stiff and dishevelled specimens from museum shelves. 
Still the colouring is pretty well done, and experience has proved that 
generally speaking there is not much difficulty in recognizing the species 
represented. The letterpress is commonly limited to technical details, 
and is not always accurate ; but it is of its kind useful, for in general 
knowledge of the outside of Birds Temminck probably surpassed any of 
his contemporaries. The " Tableau Methodique " offers a convenient 
concordance of the old Planches Enlumine'es and its successor, and is 
arranged after the system set forth by Temminck in the first volume of 
the second edition of his Maiiuel d' Ornithologie, of which more presently. 

The Galerie des Oiseaux, a rival work, with plates by Oudart, seems to 
have been begun immediately after the former. The original project was 
apparently to give a figure and description of every species of Bird ; but 
that was soon found to be impossible; and, when six parts had been issued. 


with text by some imnatned author, the scheme was brought within prac- 
ticable limits, and the writing of the letterpress was entrusted to Vieillot, 
Avho, proceeding on a systematic plan, performed his task very creditably, 
completing the work, which forms two quarto volumes, in 1825, the original 
text and 57 plates being relegated to the end of the second volume as a sup- 
plement. His portion is illustrated by 299 coloured plates that, wretched 
as they are, have been continually reproduced in various text-books — a 
fact possibly due to their subjects having been judiciously selected. It is. 
a tradition that, this work not being favourably regarded by the authorities 
of the Paris Museum, its draughtsman and author were refused closer 
access to the specimens required, and had to draw and describe them 
through the glass as they stood on the shelves of the cases. 

In 1827 Jardine and Selby began a series of Illustrations of 
Ornithology^ the several parts of which appeared at long and irregular 
intervals, so that it was not until 1835 that three volumes containing 
150 plates were completed. Then they set about a Second Series, which, 
forming a single volume with 53 plates, was finished in 1843.^ These 
authors, being zealous amateur artists, were for the most part their own 
draughtsmen and engravers. In 1828 James Wilson began, under the 
title of Illustrations of Zoology, the publication of a series of his own 
drawings (which he did not, however, himself engrave) with corresponding 
letterpress. Of the 36 plates illustrating this volume, a small folio, 20 
are devoted to Ornithology, and contain figures, not very successful, of 
several species rare at the time. 

Though the three works last mentioned fairly come under the same 
category as the Planches Enluminees and the Planches Golorie'es, no one of 
them can be properly deemed their rightful heir. The claim to that 
succession was made in 1845 by Des Murs for his Iconogrcqjhie Ornitho- 
logique, which, containing 72 plates by Prevot and Oudart^ (the latter of 
whom had marvellously improved in his drawings since he worked with 
Vieillot), was completed in 1849. Simultaneously with this Du Bus 
began a work on a plan precisely similar, the Esquisses Ornithologiqices, 
illustrated by Severeyns, which, however, stopped short in 1849 with its 
37th plate, while the letterpress unfortunately does not go beyond that 
belonging to the 20th. In 1866 the succession was again taken up by the 
Exotic Ornithology of Messrs. Sclater and Salvin, containing 100 plates, 
representing 104 species, all from Central or South America, which 
are neatly executed by Mr. Smit. Tlie accompanying letterpress is in 
some places copious, and useful lists of the species of various genera are 
occasionally subjoined, adding to the definite value of the work, which, 
forming one volume, was completed in 1869. 

Lastly here miist be mentioned Rowley's Ornithological Miscellany, in 
three quarto volumes, profusely illustrated, which appeared between 1875 
and 1878. The contents are as varied as the authorship, and, most of 
the leading English ornithologists having contributed to the work, some 
of the papers are extremely good, while in the plates, which are in Mr. 

^ Cf. SherlDorn, Ibis, 1894, p. 326. 

^ On the title-page credit is given to the latter alone, but only two-thirds of the 
plates (from pi. 25 to the end) bear his name. 


Keulemans's best manner, many rare species of Birds are figured, some of 
tliem for tlie first time. 

All the works lately named have been purposely treated at some 
length, since being costly they are not easily accessible. The few next 
to be mentioned, being of smaller size (octavo), may be within reach of 
more persons, and therefore can be passed over in a briefer fashion without 
detriment. In many ways, however, they are nearly as important. 
Swainson's Zoological Illustrations, in three volumes, containing 182 
plates, whereof 70 represent Birds, appeared between 1820 and 1821, 
and in 1829 a Second Series of the same was begun by him, which, 
extending to another three volumes, contained 48 more plates of Birds 
out of 136, and was completed in 1833. All the figures Avere drawn by 
the author, who as an ornithological artist had no rival in his time. 
Every plate is not beyond criticism, but his worst drawings shew more 
knowledge of bird-life than do the best of his English or French con- 
temporaries. A work of somewhat similar character, but one in which 
the letterpress is of greater value, is the Centurie Zoologique of Lesson, a 
single volume that though bearing the date 1830 on its title-page, is 
believed to have been begun in 1829,^ and was certainly not finished 
until 1831. It received the benefit of Isidore Geoffroy St.-Hilaire's 
assistance. Notwithstanding its name it only contains 80 plates, but of 
them 42, all by Pretre and in his usual stift" style, represent Birds. 
Concurrently with this volume appeared Lesson's Traite d' Ornithologie, 
which is dated 1831, and may perhaps be here most conveniently 
mentioned. Its professedly systematic form strictly relegates it to 
another group of works, but the presence of an " Atlas " (also in octavo) 
of 119 plates to some extent justifies its notice in this place. Between 
1831 and 1834 the same author brought out, in continuation of his 
Centurie, his Illustrations de Zoologie with 60 plates, 20 of which represent 
Birds. In 1832 Kittlitz began to publish some Kupfertafeln zur Natur- 
geschichte der Vdgel, in which many new species are figured ; but the work 
came to an end with its 36th plate in the following year. In 1845 
Reichenbach commenced with his Praktische Naturgescliiclde der Vogel the 
extraordinary series of illustrated publications which, under titles far too 
numerous here to repeat, ended in or about 1855, and are commonly 
\no\vn q.o\\&c\ay&\j a.?,}!!?, Vollstdndigste Naturgescliichte der Vogel." Herein 
are contained more than 900 coloured and more than 100 un coloured 
plates, which are crowded with the figures of Birds, a large proportion of 
them reduced copies from other works, and especially those of Gould. 

It now behoves us to turn to general and particularly systematic 
works in which plates, if they exist at all, form but an accessory to the 
text. These need not detain us for long, since, however well some of 
them may have been executed, regard being had to their epoch, and 
whatever repute some of them may have achieved, they are, so far as 
general information and especially classification is concerned, wholly 

1 In 1828 he had brought out, under the title of Manuel cP (yrnithologie, two handy 
duodecimos which are very good of their kind. 

- Technically speaking they are in quarto, but their size is so small tliat they may 
be well spoken of here, lu 1879 Dr. A. B. Meyer brought out an IihIcc to tbeni. 


obsolete, and most of tliem almost useless except as matters of antiquarian 
interest. It will be enough merely to name Dumeril's Zoologie Analytique 
(1806) and Gravenliorst's Vergleichende Uebersicht des linneischen und einiger 
neuern zoologischen Systeme (1807); nor need we linger over Shaw's 
General Zoology, a pretentious compilation continued by Stephens. The 
last seven of its fourteen volumes include the Class Aves, and the first 
part of them appeared in 1809, but, the original author dying in 1815, 
when only two volumes of Birds were published, the remainder was 
brought to an end in 1826 by his successor, who afterwards became 
well known as an entomologist. The engravings which these volumes 
contain are mostly bad copies, often of bad figures, though many are 
piracies from Bewick, and the whole is a most unsatisfactory performance. 
Of a very different kind is the next we have to notice, the Prodromus 
Systematis Mammalium et Avium of Illiger, published at Berlin in 1811, 
which must in its day have been a valuable little manual, and on many 
points it may now be consulted to advantage — the characters of the 
genera being admirably given, and good explanatory lists of the technical 
terms of Ornithology furnished. The classification was quite new, and 
made a step distinctly in advance of anything that had before appeared.^ 
In 1816 Vieillot published at Paris an Analyse d'une nouvelle Ornithologie 
elementaire, containing a method of classification which he had tried in 
vain to get printed before, both in Turin and in London.^ Some of the 
ideas in this are said to have been taken from Illiger ; but the two 
systems seem to be wholly distinct. Yieillot's was afterwards more 
fully expounded in the series of articles which he contributed between 
1816 and 1819 to the Second Edition of the Nouveau Didionnaire 
d'Histoire Naturelle, containing much valuable information. The views 
of neither of these systematizers pleased Temminck, who in 1817 replied 
rather sharply to Vieillot in some Observations sur la Classification metho- 
dique des Oiseaux, a pamphlet published at Amsterdam, and prefixed to 
the second edition of his Manuel d' Ornithologie, which appeared in 1820, 
an Analyse du Systeme General d' Ornithologie. This proved a great success, 
and his arrangement, though by no means simple,^ was not only adopted 
by many ornithologists of almost every country, but still has some 
adherents. The following year Kanzani of Bologna, in his Elementi di 

^ Illiger may be considered the founder of the school of nomenclatural purists. 
He would not tolerate any of the " barbarous " generic terms adopted by other writers, 
though some had been in use for many years. 

^ The method was communicated to the Turin Academy, 10th January 1814, and 
was ordered to be printed {Mem. Ac. Sc. Turin, 1813-14, p. xxviii.) ; but, through 
the derangements of that stormy period, the order was never carried out (Mem. Accad. 
Sc. Torino, xxiii. p. xcvii.). The minute-book of the Linnean Society of London shews 
that his Prolusio was read at meetings of that Society between 15th November 1814 
and 21st February 1815. Why it was not at once accepted is not told, but the entry 
respecting it, which must be of much later date, in the " Register of Papers " is 
" Published already." It is due to Vieillot to mention these facts, as he has been 
accused of publishing his method in haste to anticipate some of Cuvier's views, but he 
might well complain of the delay in London. Some reparation has been made to his 
memory by the reprinting of his Analyse by the Willughby Society. 

^ He recognized sixteen Orders of I3irds, while Vieillot had been content with five, 
and lUiger with seven. 



Zoologia — a very respectable compilation — came to treat of Birds, and 
tlien followed to some extent tlie plan of De Blainville and Merrem 
(concerning wliicli mucli more lias to be said by and by) placing the 
"StrntMous" Birds in an Order by themselves.^ In 1827 Wagler 
brought out the first part of a Systema Avium, in this form never com- 
pleted, consisting of 49 detached monographs of as many genera, 
the species of which are most elaborately described. The arrangement 
he subsequently adopted for them and for other groups is to be found 
in his Natilrliches System der Amjjhibien (pp. 77-128), published in 1830, 
and is too fanciful to require any further attention. The several attempts 
at system-making by Kaup, from his Allgemeine Zoologie in 1829 to his 
Ueher Classification der Vogel in 1849, were equally arbitrary and abortive ; 
but his Skizzirte Entioickelungs-Geschiclite in 1829 must be here named, as 
it is so often quoted on account of the number of new genera which the 
peculiar views he had embraced compelled him to invent. These views 
he shared more or less with Vigors and Swainson, and to them attention 
will be immediately especially invited, while consideration of the scheme 
gradually developed from 1831 ouward by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, 
and still not without its influence, is deferred until we come to treat of 
the rise and progress of what we may term the reformed school of Ornitho- 
logy. Yet injustice would be done to one of the ablest of those now to 
be called the old masters of the science if mention were not here made of 
the Conspectus Generum Avium, begun in 1850 by the naturalist last named, 
with the help of Schlegel, and imfortunately interrupted by its author's 
death six years later. ^ The systematic publications of George Eobert 
Gray, so long in charge of the ornithological collection of the British 
Museum, began with A List of the Genera of Birds published in 1840. 
This, having been closely, though by no means in a hostile spirit, 
criticized by Strickland {Aom. Nat. Hist. vi. p. 410 ; vii. pp. 26 and 159), 
was followed by a Second Edition in 1841, in which nearly all the 
corrections of the reviewer were adopted, and in 1844 began the publica- 
tion of jDie Genera of Birds, beautifully illustrated — first by Mitchell and 
afterwards by Mr. Wolf — which will always keep Gray's name in 
remembrance. The enormous labour required for this work seems 
scarcely to have been appreciated, though it remains to this day one of 
the most useful books in an ornithologist's library. Yet it must be 
confessed that its author was hardly an ornithologist but for the accident 
of his calling. He was a thoroughly conscientious clerk, devoted to his 
duty and unsparing of trouble. However, to have conceived the idea of 
executing a work on so grand a scale as this — it forms three folio volumes, 
and contains 185 coloured and 148 uncoloured plates, with references to 
upwards of 2400 generic names — was in itself a mark of genius, and it 
was brought to a successful conclusion in 1849.^ Costly as it necessarily 

1 The classification of Latreille in 1825 {Families Naturelles du Regnc AnimaU 
pp. 67-88) needs naming only, for the author, great as an entomologist, had no special 
knowledge of Birds, and his greatest merit, that of placing 0_pistlwcomus next to the 
Gallinie, was perhaps a happy accident. 

- To this indispensalde work a good index was supplied in 1865 by Dr. Finsch. 

^ Capt. Thomas Browne's lUuslraUon of the Genera of Birds, begun in 1845 in 
imitation of Gray's work, is discreditable to all concerned with it. It soon ceased to 


was, it lias been of great service to working ornithologists. In 1855 
Gray brought out, as one of the Museum publications, A Catalogue of the 
Genera and Subgenera of Birds, a handy little volume, naturally founded 
on the larger works. Its chief drawback is that it does not give any 
more reference to the authority for a generic term than the name of its 
inventor aiid the year of its application, though of course more precise 
information would have at least doubled the size of the book. The same 
deficiency became still more apparent when, between 1869 and 1871, he 
published his Hand-List of Genera and Species of Birds in three octavo 
volumes (or parts, as they are called). Never was a book better named, 
for the working ornithologist must almost live with it in his hand, and 
though he has constantly to deplore its shortcomings, one of which 
especially is the wrong principle on which its index is constructed, he 
should be thankful that such a work exists. Many of its defects are, or 
perhaps it were better said ought to be, supplied by Giebel's Thesaurus 
Ornithologise, also in three volumes (1872-77), a work admirably planned, 
but the execution of which, whether through the author's carelessness or 
the printer's fault, or a combination of both, is lamentably disappointing. 
Again and again it will afford the enquirer who consults it valuable 
hints, but he must be mindful never to trust a single reference in it 
until it has been verified. It remains to warn the reader also that, useful 
as are both this work and those of Gray, their utility is almost solely 
confined to experts. 

With the exception to which reference has just been made, scarcely 
any of the ornithologists hitherto named indulged their imagination in 
theories or speculations. Nearly all were content to prosecute their 
labours in a plain fashion consistent with common sense, plodding steadily 
onwards in their efforts to describe and group the various species, as one 
after another they were made known. But this was not always to be, 
and now a few words must be said respecting a theory which was pro- 
mulgated with great zeal by its upholders during the end of the first and 
early part of the second quarter of the present century, and for some 
years seemed likely to carry all before it. The success it gained was 
doubtless due in some degree to the difficulty which most men had in 
comprehending it, for it was enwrapped in alluring mystery, but more 
to the confidence with which it was announced as being the long looked- 
for key to the wonders of creation, since its promoters did not hesitate to 
term it the discovery of " the Natural System," though they condescended, 
by way of explanation to less exalted intellects than their own, to allow 
it the more moderate appellation of the Circular or Quinary System. 

A comparison of the relation of created beings to a number of inter- 
secting circles is as old as the days of Nieremberg, who in 1635 wrote 
(Ristoria Nature, lib. iii. cap. 3) — " Nullus hiatus est, nulla fractio, nulla 
dispersio formarum, invicem connexa sunt velut annulus annulo " ; but 
it is almost clear that he was thinking only of a chain. In 1806 Fischer 
de Waldheim, in his Tableaux Syno2)tiques de Zoognosie (p. 181), quoting 

appear and remains incomplete. Had it been finished it would have been useless. 
The author had before (18-31) attempted a similar act of piracy upon Wilson's 
American Ornithology. 


Nieremberg, extended his figure of speech, and, while justly deprecating 
the notion that the series of forms belonging to any particular group of 
creatures — the Mammalia was that whence he took his instance — could be 
placed in a straight line, imagined the various genera to be arrayed in a 
series of contiguous circles around Man as a centre. Though there is 
nothing to shew that Fischer intended, by what is here said, to do any- 
thing else than illustrate more fully the marvellous interconnexion of 
different animals, or that he attached any realistic meaning to his 
metaphor, his words were eagerly caught up by the prophet of the new 
faith. This was William Sharpe Macleay, a man of education and real 
genius, who in 1819 and 1821 brought out a work under the title of 
Horai Entomologicae, which was soon after hailed by Vigors as containing 
a new revelation, and applied by him to Ornithology in some " Observa- 
tions on the Natural Affinities that connect the Orders and Families of 
Birds," read before the Linnean Society of London in 1823, and after- 
wards published in its Transactions (xiv. pp. 395-517). In the following 
year Vigors returned to the subject in some papers published in the 
recently established Zoological Journal, and found an energetic condisciple 
and coadjutor in Swainson, who, for more than a dozen years — to the 
end, in fact, of his career as an ornithological writer — was instant in 
season and out of season in pressing on all his readers the views he had, 
through Vigors, adopted from Macleay, though not without some modi- 
fication of detail if not of principle. What these views were it would be 
manifestly improper for a sceptic to state except in the terms of a 
believer. Their enunciation must, therefore, be given in Swainson's own 
words, though it must be admitted that space cannot be found here for 
the diagrams, which it was alleged were necessary for the right under- 
standing of the theory. This theory, as originally propounded by 
Macleay, was said by Swainson in 1835 (Geogr. and Classific. of Animals, 
p, 202) to have consisted of the following propositions :^ — 

" 1. That the series of natural animals is continuous, forming, as it were, a circle ; 
so that, upon commencing at any one given point, and thence tracing all the 
modifications of structure, we shall be imperceptibly led, after passing through 
numerous forms, again to the point from which we started. 

" 2. That no groups are natural which do not exhibit, or shew an evident tend- 
ency to exhibit, such a circular series. 

" 3. That the primary divisions of every large group are ten, five of which are 
composed of comparatively large circles, and five of smaller : these latter being 
termed osculant, and being intermediate between the former, which they serve to 

" 4. That there is a tendency in such groups as are placed at the opposite points 
of a circle of affinity ' to meet each other.' 

" 5. That one of the five larger groups into which every natural circle is divided 
' bears a resemblance to all the rest, or, more strictly speaking, consists of types 
which represent those of each of the four other groups, together with a type peculiar 
to itself.' " 

As subsequently modified by Swainson (torn. cit. pp. 224, 225), the 
foregoing propositions take the following form : — 

^ I prefer giving them here in Swainson's version, because he seems to have set 
them forth more clearly and concisely than Macleay ever did, and, moreover, Swain- 
son's application of them to Ornithology — a branch of science that lay outside of 
Macleay 's proper studies — appears to be more suitable to the present occasion. 


" I. That every natural series of beings, in its progress from a given point, either 
actually returns, or evinces a tendency to return, again to that point, thereby 
forming a circle. 

"II. The primary circular divisions of every group are three actually, or five 

"III. The contents of such a circular group are symbolically (or analogically) 
represented by the contents of all other circles in the animal kingdom. 

" IV. That these primary divisions of every group are characterized by definite 
peculiarities of form, structure and economy, which, under diversified modifications, 
are uniform throughout the animal kingdom, and are therefore to be regarded as the 


"V. That the difi'erent ranks or degrees of circular groups exhibited in the 
animal kingdom are nine in number, each being involved within the other." 

Though, as above stated, the theory thus promulgated owed its 
temporary success chiefly to the extraordinary assurance and pertinacity 
with which it was urged upon a public generally incapable of under- 
standing what it meant, that it received some support from men of 
science must be admitted. A " circular system " was advocated by the 
eminent botanist Fries, and the views of Macleay met with the partial 
approbation of the celebrated entomologist Kirby, while at least as much 
may be said of the imaginative Oken, whose mysticism far surpassed that 
of the Quinarians. But it is obvious to every one who nowadays in- 
dulges in the profitless pastime of studjdng their writings that, as a 
whole, they failed in grasping the essential difference between homology 
(or " affinity," as they generally termed it) and analogy (which is only a 
learned name for an uncertain kind of resemblance) — though this differ- 
ence had been fully understood and set forth by Aristotle himself — and, 
moreover, that in seeking for analogies on which to base their foregone 
conclusions they were often put to hard shifts. Another singular fact is 
that they often seemed to be totally unaware of the tendency if not the 
meaning of some of their own expressions ; thus Macleay could write, 
and doubtless in perfect good faith {Trans. Linn. Soc. xvi. p. 9, note), 
" Naturalists have nothing to do with mysticism, and but little with 
a priori reasoning." Yet his followers, if not he himself, were ever 
making use of language in the highest degree metaphorical, and were 
always exj)laining facts in accordance with preconceived opinions. 
Fleming, already the author of a harmless and extremely orthodox 
PJiilosojjhy of Zoology, pointed out in 1829 in the Quarterly Review 
{xli. pp. 302-327) some of the fallacies of Macleay's method, and in 
return provoked from him a reply, in the form of a letter addressed to 
Vigors On the Dying Struggle of the Dichotomous System, couched in lan- 
guage the force of which no one even at the present day can deny, 
though to the modern naturalist its invective power contrasts ludicrously 
with the strength of its ratiocination. But, confining ourselves to what 
is here our special business, it is to be remarked that perhaps the heaviest 
blow dealt at these strange doctrines was that delivered by Eennie, who, 
in an edition of Montagu's Ornithological Dictionary (pp. xxxiii.-lv.), 
published in 1831 and again issued in 1833, attacked the Quinary 
System, and especially its application to Ornithology by Vigors and 
Swainson, in a way that might perhaps have demolished it, had not the 
author mingled with his undoubtedly sound reasoning much that is 


foreign to any question with which a naturalist, as such, ought to deal — - 
though that herein he was only following the example of one of his 
opponents, who had constantly treated the subject in like manner, is to 
be allowed. This did not hinder Swainson, who had succeeded in 
getting the ornithological portion of the first zoological work ever pub- 
lished at the expense of the British Government (namely, the Fauna 
Boreali-Americana) executed in accordance with his own opinions, from 
maintaining them more strongly than ever in several of the volumes treat- 
ing of Natural History which he contributed to the Cabinet Gydopeedia — 
among others that from which we have just given some extracts — and in 
what may be deemed the culmination in England of the Quinary System, 
the volume of the "Naturalist's Library" on The Natural Arrangement 
and History of Flycatchers (1838), an unhappy performance mentioned in 
the body of the present work (p, 274, note). This seems to have been 
his last attempt ; for, two years later, his Bihliograi^hy of Zoology shews 
little trace of his favourite theory, though nothing he had uttered in its 
support was retracted. Appearing almost simultaneously with that 
work, an ar4;icle by Strickland {Mag. Nat. Hist., ser. 2, iv. pp. 219-226), 
entitled Observations upon the Affinities and Analogies of Organized Beings, 
administered to the theory a shock from which it never recovered, 
though attempts were now and then made by its adherents to revive it ; 
and, even ten years or more later, Kaup, one of the few foreign orni- 
thologists who had embraced Quinary principles, was by mistaken kind- 
ness allowed to publish Monographs of the Birds-of-Prey (Jardine's Gontr. 
Orn. 1849, pp. 68-75, 96-121; 1850, pp. 51-80; 1851, pp. 119-130; 
1852, pp. 103-122 ; and Trans. Zool. Soc. iv, pp. 201-260), in which its 
absurdity reached the climax. 

The mischief caused by this theory of a Quinary System was very 
great, but was chiefly confined to Britain, for (as already stated) the 
extraordinary views of its adherents found little favour on the continent 
of Europe. The purely artificial character of the System of Linnaeus 
and his successors had been perceived, and men were at a loss to find a 
substitute for it. The new doctrine, loudly proclaiming the discovery of 
a " Natural " System, led away many from the steady practice which 
should have followed the teaching of Cuvier (though he in Ornithology 
had not been able to act up to the principles he had laid down) and from 
the extended study of Comparative Anatomy. Moreover, it veiled the 
honest attempts that were making both in France and Germany to find 
real grounds for establishing an improved^ state of things, and conse- 
quently the labours of De Blainville, Etienne Geoftroy St.-Hilaire, 
and L'Herminier, of Merrem, Johannes Miiller and Nitzsch — to say 
nothing of others — were almost wholly unknown on this side of the 
Channel, and even the value of the investigations of British ornithotoni- 
ists of high merit, such as Macartney and Macgillivray, was almost 
completely overlooked. True it is that there were not wanting other 
men in these islands whose common sense refused to accept the meta- 
phorical doctrine and the mystical jargon of the Quinarians, but so 
strenuously and persistently had the latter asserted their infallibility, 
and so vigorously had they assailed any who ventured to doubt it, that 


most peaceable ornithologists found it best to bend to tbe furious blast, 
and in some sort to acquiesce at least in the phraseology of the self- 
styled interpreters of Creative Will. But, while thus lamenting this 
unfortunate perversion into a mistaken channel of ornithological energy, 
we must not over-blame those who caused it. Macleay indeed never 
pretended to a high position in this branch of science, his tastes lying in 
the direction of Entomology ; but few of their countrymen knew more 
of Birds than did Swainson and Vigors ; and, while the latter, as editor 
for many years of the Zoological Journal, and the first Secretary of the 
Zoological Society, has especial cla,ims to the regard of all zoologists, so 
the former's indefatigable pursuit of Natural History, and conscientious 
labour in its behalf — among other ways by means of his graceful pencil 
— deserve to be remembered as a set-off against the injury he unwittingly 

It is now incumbent upon us to take a rapid survey of the orni- 
thological works which come more or less under the designation of 
" Faunee " ; ^ but these are so numerous that it will be necessary to limit 
this survey, as before indicated, to those countries alone which form the 
homes of English people, or are commonly visited by them in ordinary 

Beginning with our Antipodes, it is hardly needful to go further 
back than Sir Walter Buller's beautiful Birds of New Zealand (4to, 
1872-73 ; ed. 2, 2 vols. 1888), with coloured plates by Mr. Keulemans, 
and the same author's Manual of the Birds of New Zealand (8vo, 1882), 
founded on the former ; but justice requires that mention be made of 
the labours of G. E. Gray, first in the Appendix to Dieffenbach's Travels 
in New Zealand (1843) and then in the ornithological portion of the 
Zoology of the Voyage of H. M.S. ^Erebus' and ^Terror,' begun in 1844, 
but left unfinished from the following year until completed by Dr. 
Sharpe in 1876. A considerable number of valuable papers on the 
Ornithology of the country by Sir James Hector and Sir Julius Von 
Haast, Prof. Hutton, Mr. Potts and others are to be found in the Trans- 
actions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute. 

Passing to Australia, we have the first good description of some of its 
Birds in the several old voyages and in Latham's works before men- 
tioned. Shaw's Zoology of New Holland (4 to, 1794), though unfinished, 
added that of a few more, as did J. W. Lewin's Birds of New Holland 
(4to, London : 1808), of which, under the title of A Natural History of 
the Birds of Neiv South Wales, a second edition, with 26 instead of 18 
plates, appeared in 1822, the year after the author's death, and a third 
with additions by Eyton, Gould and others in 1838. Gould's great 
Birds of Australia has been already named, and he subsequently repro- 
duced with some additions the text of that work under the title of 
Handbook to the Birds of Australia (2 vols. 8vo, 1865). In 1866 Mr. 
Diggles commenced a similar publication. The Ornithology of Australia, 
but the coloured plates are not comparable with those of his predecessor. 
This is still incomplete, though the parts that appeared were collected to 

■^ A very useful list of more general scope is given as the Appendix to an Address 
by Mr. Sclater to the British Association in 1875 (Report, pt. ii. pp. 114-133). 


form two volumes and issued (Brisbane : 1877) witli title-pages. Many- 
notices of Australian Birds by Dr. Eamsay, Messrs. A. J. North, K. H. 
Bennett and others are to be found in the Records of the Australian 
Museum, the Proceedings of the Linnaean Society of New South Wales, of 
the Royal Society of Victoria and of that of Tasmania.^ Papers by Mr. 
Devis on the ornithology of British New Guinea have appeared in the 
Annual Reports on that Dependency presented to the parliament of 
Queensland, and in their original form are hardly accessible to the ordinary 

Coming to our Indian possessions, and beginning with Ceylon, we 
have Kelaart's Prodromus Faunae Zeylanicx (8vo, 1852), and the admirable 
Birds of Ceylon by Col. Legge (4to, 1878-80), with coloured plates by Mr. 
Keulemans of all the peculiar species. One can hardly name a book 
that has been more conscientiously executed than this. In regard to 
continental India many of the more important publications have been 
named in the body of this work (pages 356, 357), but Blyth's Mammals 
and Birds of Burma (8vo, 1875) ^ should be especially noticed, as well as 
the fact that since the return of Mr. Gates to the East, the ornithological 
part of the Fauna of British India is being continued by Mr. Blanford, 
though Jerdon's classical work will always remain of value, notwith- 
standing that it no longer reigns supreme as the sole comprehensive work 
on the Grnithology of the Peninsula.^ 

In regard to South Africa there is little to be added to the works 
mentioned (pages 347, 351, 352); but in 1896 Capt. Shelley brought out 
a List of African Birds, which, it is hoped, may be the forerunner of a 
series of volumes on Ethiopian Ornithology. It is much to be regretted 
that of the numerous sporting books that treat of this part of the world 
so few give any important information respecting the Birds. 

Of special works relating to the British West Indies, "Waterton's 
well-known Wanderings has passed through several editions since its 
first appearance in 1825, and must be mentioned here, though, strictly 
speaking, much of the country he traversed was not British territory. 
To Dr. Cabanis we are indebted for the ornithological results of Richard 
Schomburgk's researches given in the third volume (pp. 662-765) of the 
latter's Reisen im Britisch- Guiana (8vo, 1848), and then to L^otaud's 
Oiseaux de Vile de la Trinidad (8vo, 1866). Of the Antilles there is to 
be named Gosse's excellent Birds of Jamaica (12mo, 1847), together with 
its Illustrations (sm. fol. 1849) beautifully executed by him. A nominal 

^ Dr. Ramsay has a Tabular List of Australian Birds (ed. 2, Sydney: 1888). 
Mr. North's contributions have been chiefly on Nidification and Oology, though the 
ornithology of the recent " Horn Expedition " has fallen to his share. Mr. Archibald 
J. Campbell's Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds (Melbourne : 1883) deserves 
especial mention. A convenient Manual of Australian Ornithology is still a great 
want, and, if supplied, would undoubtedly advance the knowledge of the wonderful 
bird-population of that country, and induce the inhabitants to take greater interest 
in it. But the work to be well done must be by Australian hands. 

- This is a posthumous publication, nominally forming an extra number of the 
Journal of tlie Asiatic Society. 

^ A multitude of papers, some very important, on Indian Ornitholog}^ appeared 
in Stray Feathers, a periodical edited between 1877 and 1882 by Mr. A. 0. Hume, 
of which the eleventh and last volume remains unfinished. 


list, witli references, of the Birds of the island is contained in the 
Handbook of Jamaica for 1881 (pp. 103-117) ; while in 1885 Mr. Cory,i 
who in 1880 had brought out, at Boston (ed. 2, 1890), a work on the 
Birds of the Bahama Islands (not strictly Antillean), published a List of 
the Birds of the West Indies, with a revised edition in the following year, 
and one still more elaborate, so that the words " List of " were dropped 
from the title, in 1889. 

So admirable a " List of Faunal Publications relating to North 
American Ornithology" up to the year 1878 has been given by Dr. 
Coues as an appendix to his Birds of the Colorado Valley (pp. 567-784) 
that nothing more of the kind is wanted except to notice some of the 
chief separate works which have since appeared, for so prolific are our 
American relations that it would be impossible to mention many. 
Among those that cannot be overlooked are Mr. Stearns's N'eio England 
Bird Life (2 vols. 8vo, 1881-83), revised by Dr, Coues, and the several 
editions of his own Chech List of North American Birds (1882), and Key 
to North American Birds.'^ Then there is the great North American Birds 
of the late Prof. Baird, Dr. Brewer and Mr. Ridgway (1874-84), and the 
Manual of North American Birds (1887 ; ed. 2, 1896) by the last of 
these authors ; beside Capt. Bendire's Life Histories of North American 
Birds (4to, Washington : 1892), beautifully illustrated by figures of their 
eggs. Yet some of the older works are still of sufficient importance to 
be especially recorded here, and especially that of Alexander Wilson, 
whose American Ornithology, originally published between 1808 and 1814, 
has gone through many editions, of which mention should be made of 
those issued in Great Britain by Jameson (4 vols. 16mo, 1831), and 
Jardine (3 vols. 8vo, 1832). The former of these has the entire text, 
but no plates ; the latter reproduces the plates, but the text is in places 
much condensed, though excellent notes are added. A continuation of 
Wilson's work, under the same title and on the same plan, was issued by 
Bonaparte between 1825 and 1833, and most of the later editions 
include the work of both authors. The works of Audubon, with their 
continuations by Cassin and Mr. Elliot, and the Fauna Boreali- Americana 

^ In the same year Mr. Cory also produced the Birds of Haiti and St. Domingo, 
supplying a want that had been long felt, since nothing had really been known of 
the ornithology of Hispaniola for nearly a century, Gundlach, Lembeye and 
Poey are the chief authorities on that of Cuba, while the first has also treated of the 
Birds of Porto Rico. 

" The second and revised edition (the first having appeared in 1872, while a fifth 
is now in preparation) of this useful work was published in 1884, and contains (j^p. 
234, 235) a classification of North-American Birds, though being limited to them will 
not need detailed notice hereafter ; but I may remark that the author very justly 
points out (p. 227) the difference, overlooked by many writers of to-day, between 
"natural analysis" and the "artificial keys " now so much in vogue, the latter being 
merely " an attempt to take the student by a ' short cut ' to the name and position in 
the ornithological system of any specimen " he may wish to determine. Under the 
title of Handbook of Field and General Ornithology, the two portions of this work 
most valuable to the non-American reader were republished in London in 1890, and 
deserve to be far better known among the ornithologists of all countries than they 
seem to be, for they give much excellent information not to be found elsewhere. 
Many writers on Birds in newspapers and magazines would be often spared some 
silly mistakes were they to make acquaintance with Dr. Coues's little book. 


of Eichardson and Swainson have already been noticed ; but tbey need 
naming here, as also does Nnttall's Manual of the Ornithology of the United 
States and of Canada (2 vols. 1832-34 ; vol. i. ed. 2, 1840); tlie Birds 
of Long Island (8vo, 1844) by Giraud, remarkable for its excellent 
account of tbe babits of sbore-birds ; and of course tbe Birds of North 
America (4to, 1858) by Baird, with the co-operation of Cassin and 
Lawrence, which originally formed a volume (ix.) of what are known 
as the " Pacific Eailroad Eeports." Apart from these special works the 
scientific journals of Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington 
contain innumerable papers on the Ornithology of the country, while in 
1876 the Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club began to appear, and 
continued until 1884, when it was superseded by TJie Auk, established 
solely for the promotion of Ornithology in America, and numbering 
among its supporters almost every American ornithologist of repute, its 
present editors being Dr. Allen and Mr. F. M. Chapman. 

Of Canada, unfortunately, not much is to be said. It is hard to under- 
stand why zoological studies have never found such favour there as further 
to the southward, but this is undoubtedly the fact, and no ornithological 
work can be cited of which the Dominion as a whole can be proud, 
though Mr. M'llwraithe's Birds of Ontario, of which an enlarged edition 
appeared in 1894, is a fair piece of local work. 

Eeturning to the Old World, among the countries whose Ornithology 
will most interest British readers we have first Iceland, the fullest — 
indeed the only full — account of the Birds of which is Faber's Prodromus 
der islandischen Ornithologie (8vo, 1822), though the island has since been 
visited by several good ornithologists, — Proctor, Krtiper and WoUey 
among them. A list of its Birds, with some notes, bibliographical and 
biological, has been given as an Appendix to Mr. Baring-Gould's Iceland, 
its Scenes and Sagas (8vo, 1862) ; and Mr. Shepherd's North-xoest Peninsida 
of Iceland (8vo, 1867) recounts a somewhat profitless expedition made 
thither expressly for ornithological objects.^ For the Birds of the Fteroes 
there is Herr H. C. Miiller's Fseroernes Fuglefauna (8vo, 1862), of which 
a German translation has appeared.^ The Ornithology of Norway has 
been treated in a great many papers by Herr Collett, some of which may 
be said to have been separately published as Norges Fugle (8vo, 1868 ; 
with a supplement, 1871), and The Ornithology of Northern Norioay (8vo, 
1872) — this last in English, while an English translation by Mr. A. H. 
Cocks (London: 1894) has been published of one of the author's latest 
works, a popular account of Bird-Life in Arctic Norway, communicated to 
the Second International Congress of Ornithology in 1892. For Scandi- 
navia generally the latest work is Herr Collin's Skandinaviens Fugle (8vo, 

^ Two papers by Messrs. Backhouse aud W. E. Clarke, and Carter and Skater 
(Ibis, 1885, p. 364 ; 1886, p. 45) should be consulted, as well as cue by Messrs. H. 
J. and C. E. Pearson (oj). cit. 1895, pp. 237-249), which gives a list of the species 
hitherto recorded there. Herr Grondal has also a list and an ornithological report on 
Iceland [Ornis, 1886, pp. 355, 601), with a dissertation on birds' names [op. ctY. 1887, 
p. 587). 

^ Journ. fur Oi-n. 1869, pp. 107, 341, 381. One may almost say an English 
translation also, for Col. Feilden's contribution to the Zoologist for 1872 on the same 
subject gives the most essential part of Herr Miiller's information. 


1873), being a greatly bettered edition of the very moderate Danmarks 
Fugle of Kjccrbolling ; but the ornithological portion of Nilsson's Skandi 
navisk Fauna, Foglarna (3rd ed. 2 vols. 8vo, 1858) is of great merit; 
while the text of Sundevall's Svenska Foglarna (obi. fol. 1856-73), un- 
fortunately unfinished at his death, but completed in 1886 by Prof. 
Kinberg, and Herr Holmgren's Skandinaviens Foglar (2 vols. 8vo, 1866- 
75) deserve naming. 

Works on the Birds of Germany are far too numerous to be recounted. 
That of the two Naumanns, already mentioned, and yet again to be spoken 
of, stands at the head of all, and perhaps at the head of the "Faunal" 
works of all countries. For want of space it must here suffice simply to 
name some of the ornithologists who in this century have elaborated, to 
an extent elsewhere unknown, the science as regards their own country : 
— Altum, Baldamus, Bechstein, Berlepsch, Blasius (father and two sons), 
BoUe, Borggreve, whose Vogel-Fauna von Norddeutscliland (8vo, 1869) 
contains what is practically a bibliographical index to the subject, Brehm 
(father and sons), Von Droste, Gatke, Gloger, Hintz, Holtz, Alexander 
and Eugen von Homeyer, Jackel, Koch, Konig-Warthausen, Ivriiper, 
Kutter, Landbeck, Landois, Leisler, Leverklihn, Von Maltzan, Matschie, 
Bernard Meyer, Von der Miihle, Neumann, Tobias, Johann Wolf and 
Zander.^ Were we to extend the list beyond the boundaries of the 
German empire, and include the ornithologists of Austria, Bohemia and 
the other states subject to the same monarch, the number would be nearly 
doubled ; but that would overpass our proposed limits, though Von 
Pelzeln must be named. ^ Passing onward to Switzerland, we must con- 
tent ourselves by referring to the list of works, forming a Bibliographia 
Ornithologica Helvetica, drawn up by Dr. Stolker for Dr. Fatio's Bulletin 
de la Societe' Ornithologique Suisse (ii. pp. 90-119); but the latter has 
already published a Catalogue Distributif of Swiss Birds, of which a third 
edition appeared in 1892, and in conjunction with Dr. Studer is bringing 
out a more elaborate work on the ornithology of the country, of which 
two parts have appeared. As to Italy, we have to name here the Fauna 
d' Italia, of which the second part, Uccelli (8vo, 1872), by Count T. 
Salvadori, contained an excellent bibliography of Italian works on the 
subject, while his Elenco degli Uccelli Italiani (Genova: 1887) is drawn up 
with his characteristic thoroughness. Then there is the posthumously 
published Ornitologia Italiana of Savi (3 vols, 8vo, 1873-77). But the 
country rejoices in what may be called an official Ornithology. This is 
the Avifauna Italica of Prof. Giglioli, and consists of four volumes pub- 

^ This is of course no complete list of German ornithologists. Some of the most 
eminent of them have written scarcely a line on the Birds of their own country, as 
Cabanis (editor from 1853 to 1893 of the Journal fur Ornithologie), Finsch, Hartlaub, 
Hartert, Heine, A. Konig, Prince Max of Wied, A. B. Meyer, Nathusius, Nehrkorn, 
Reichenbach and Schalow among others. In 1889 Dr. Reichenow, of whom more 
hereafter, published a convenient Systematisches Verzeichniss der Vogel Deutschlands 
und des angrenzenden Mittel-Europas. 

^ An ornithological bibliography of the Austrian- Hungarian dominions was printed 
in the Verhandhmgen of the Zoological and Botanical Society of Vienna for 1878, 
by Victor Ritter von Tschusi zu Schmidhofen. A similar bibliography of Russian 
Ornithology by Alexander Brandt was printed at St. Petersburg in 1877 or 1878. 


lished at Florence between 1886 and 1891, in wMcli the subject is treated 
in the greatest detail, owing to the multitude of observers by whom the 
author was assisted, with the result that Ornithology stands in Italy on a 
footing different from that which it occupies in any other nation. But it 
is pleasing to observe that this oflficial recognition has not checked inde- 
pendent work, and the number of local Italian faunas is far too great 
to be here particularized.^ Coming to the Iberian peninsula, we must in 
default of separate works depart from our rule of not mentioning contribu- 
tions to journals, for of the former there are only Col. Irby's Ornithology 
of the Straits of Gibraltar (8vo, 1875 ; ed. 2, 1895) ^ and Mr, A. C. Smith's 
Spring Tour in Portugal ^ to be named, and these but partially cover the 
■ground. However, Dr. A. E. Brehm has published a list of Sjjanish Birds 
(Allgem. deutsche Naturhist. Zeitung, iii. p. 431), and Tlie Ibis contains 
several excellent papers by Lord Lilford and by Mr. Saunders, the latter 
of whom there records (1871, p. 55) the few works on Ornithology by 
Spanish authors, and in the Bulletin de la Society Zoologique de France (i. 
p. 315 j ii. pp. 11, 89, 185) has given a list of the Spanish Birds known 
to him.* 

Eeturning northwards, we have of the Birds of the whole of France, 
apart from Western Europe, nothing of real importance more recent than 
the Oiseaux in Vieillot's Faune Frangaise (8vo, 1822-29) ; but there is a 
great number of local publications of which Mr. Saunders has furnished 
(Zoologist, 1878, pp. 95-99) a catalogue. Some of these have appeared in 
journals, but many have been issued separately. Those of most interest 
to English ornithologists naturally refer to Britanny, Normandy and 
Picardy, and are by Baillon, Benoist, Blandin, Bureau, Canivet, Chesnon, 
Degland, Demarle, De Norguet, Gentil, Hardy, Lemetteil, Lemonnicier, 
Lesauvage, Maignon, Marcotte, Nourry and Tasle, while perhaps the Orni- 
thologie Parisienne of M. Rene Paquet, under the pseudonym of Ner^e 
Quepat, should also be named. Of the rest the most important are the 
Ornithologie Provengale of Roux (2 vols. 4to, 1825-29) ; Risso's Histoire 
naturelle . . . . des environs de Nice (5 vols. 8vo, 1826-27) ; the Orni- 
thologie du Dauphin^ oi Bouteille and Labatie (2 vols. 8vo, 1843-44) ; the 
Ornithologie du Gard (8vo,^1840) and Faune Meridionale of Crespon (2 vols. 
8vo, 1844) ; the Ornithologie de la Savoie of Bailly (4 vols. 8vo, 1853-54), 
and Les Eichesses ornithologiques du midi de la France (4to, 1859-61) of 
MM. Jaubert and Barthelemy-Lapommeraye. For Belgium the Faune 
Beige of Baron De Selys-Longchamps (8vo, 1842) long remained the 

^ A compendium of Greelc and Turkish Ornithology by Drs. Kriiper and Hartlaub 
is contained in Mommsen's Griechische Jahrzeiten for 1875 (Heft III.). For other 
countries in the Levant there are Canon Tristram's Fauna and Flora of Palestine 
{4to, 1884) and Capt. Shelley's Handhooh to the Birds of Egypt (8%'o, 1872). 

" Mr. Abel Chapman's Wild Spain (London : 1893) contains a considerable 
quantity of ornithological information, chiefly from the sportsman's point of view. 

^ In the final chapter of this work the author gives a list of Portuguese Birds, 
including beside those observed by him those recorded by Prof. Barboza du Bocage 
in the Gazeta Medica de Lishoa, 1861, pp. 17-21. 

^ Certain papers published at Corunna by a Galician ornithologist require an 
explanation (c/. Sherborn, Ann. <£• Mag. Nat. Jlist. ser. 6, xiv. p. 151), whicli has 
not and proljably never will be given. 


classical work, though the Planches coloriees des Oiseaux de la Belgiqice of 
the late M. Ch. F. Dubois (8vo, 1851-60) was so much more recent. To 
this followed, in 1861-64, a supplementary volume, which, by including 
species not found in Belgium, justified an extension of the title of the 
whole to Planches coloriees des Oiseaux de VEiirope ; while between 1876 
and 1887, his son, Dr. Alphonse Dubois, devoted to Birds four volumes 
of his Faune illustre'e des Verte'bre's de la Belgique (gr. 8vo), a work remark- 
able for the introduction of small maps shewing the author's view of the 
geographical range of the several species. In regard to Holland we have 
Schlegel's De Vogels van Nederland (3 vols. 8vo, 1854-58; ed. 2, 2 vols. 
1878), besides his De Dieren van Nederland: Vogels (8vo, 1861).^ 

Here it may be well to cast a glance on a few of the works that refer 
to Europe in general, the more so since most of them are of Continental 
origin. First we have the already-mentioned Manuel d' Ornithologie of 
Temminck, which originally appeared as a single volume in 1 8 1 5 ^ ; but was 
speedily superseded by the second edition of 1820, in two volumes. Two 
supplementary parts were issued in 1835 and 1840 respectively, and the 
work for many years deservedly maintained the highest position as the 
authority on European Ornithology — indeed in England it may almost 
without exaggeration be said to have been nearly the only foreign 
ornithological work known ; but, as may well be expected, grave defects 
are now to be discovered in it. Some of them were already manifest 
when one of its author's colleagues, Schlegel (who had been employed to 
write the text for Susemihl's plates, originally intended to illustrate 
Temminck's work), brought out his bilingual Revue critique des Oiseaux 
W Europe (8vo, 1844), a very remarkable volume, since it correlated and 
consolidated the labours of French and German, to say nothing of Russian, 
ornithologists. Of Gould's Birds of Europe (5 vols. fol. 1832-37) nothing 
need be added to what has been already said. The year 1849 saw the 
publication of Degland's Ornithologie Europeenne (2 vols. 8vo), a work fully 
intended to take the place of Temminck's ; but of which Bonaparte, in 
a caustic but well-deserved Revue Critique (12mo, 1850), said that the 
author had performed a miracle since he had worked without a collection 
of specimens and without a library. A second edition, revised by M. 
Gerbe (2 vols. 8vo, 1867), strove to remedy, and to some extent did 
remedy, the grosser errors of the first, but enough still remain to make 
few statements in the work trustworthy unless corroborated by other 
evidence. Meanwhile in England the late Dr. Bree in 1858 began the 
publication of The Birds of Europe not observed in the British Isles (4 vols. 
8vo), which was completed in 1863, and in 1875 reached a second and 
improved edition (5 vols.). In 1870-1 Dr. Anton Fritsch brought out his 
Naturgeschichte der Vogel Europas (8vo, with atlas in folio) ; and in 1871 
Messrs. Sharpe and Dresser began the publication of their Birds of Europe, 
which was finished by the latter alone in 1879 (8 vols. 4to), and is unques- 
tionably the most complete work of its kind, both for fulness of informa- 
tion and beauty of illustration — the coloured plates being nearly all by Mr. 

■^ There are several important papers on Dutch Ornithology by Albarda, Blaauw, 
Btittikofer, Crommelin, Jentink and others. 

^ Copies are said to exist bearing the date 1814. 


Keulemans or Mr. Neale. In so huge an undertaking mistakes and omis- 
sions are of course to be found if any one likes the invidious task of seeking 
for them ; but many of the errors imputed to this work prove on investi- 
gation to refer to matters of opinion rather than of fact, while many more 
are explicable if we remember that while the work was in progress 
Ornithology was being prosecuted with unprecedented activity, and thus 
statements which were in accordance with the best information at the 
beginning of the period were found to need modification before it 
was ended. As a whole European ornithologists have been all but 
unanimously grateful to Mr. Dresser for the way in which he brought 
this enormous labour to a successful end. A Supplement to his work is 
now nearly finished. The late M. des Murs in 1886 completed his 
Description des Oiseaux d'Europe (4 vols. gr. 8vo), with coloured figures of 
the Birds and of their eggs, but it is rather a popular than a scientific 
work. The Contributions a la Faune ornithologique de VEurope Occidentale 
of the late M. Olphe-Galliard, contained in 41 fascicules between 1884 
and 1892, is an important work, involving a vast amount of research, and 
composed in a highly original way. The author was well read in orui- 
thologicar literature, for he had the accomplishment, rare among his 
countrymen, of a good acquaintance with modern languages not his own, 
and was especially observant of the doings of foreign naturalists. Yet 
the work cannot be called wholly successful, and this chiefly, it would 
seem, through the want of autoptical acquaintance with many of the 
species treated, or at least with a sufficient series of specimens, whereby 
he has been led to rely too much on the descriptions of others, with the 
usual unsatisfactory result. Still the work fully deserves attention, and 
nothing need be said of the author's fanciful classification, for no one is 
likely to follow it. In 1890 Mr. Backhouse brought out a convenient 
little Handbook of European Birds.^ 

Coming now to works on British Birds only, the first of the present 
century that requires remark is Montagu's Ornithological Dictionary (2 
vols. 8vo, 1802; supplement 1813), the merits of which have been so 
long and so fully acknowledged both abroad and at home that no further 
comment is here wanted. In 1831 Rennie brought out a modified 
edition of it (reissued in 1833), and Newman another in 1866 (reissued 
in 1883) ; but those who wish to know the author's views should consult 
the original. Next in order come the very inferior British Ornithology of 
Graves (3 vols. 8vo, 1811-21 ; ed. 2, 1821), and a better work with the 
same title by Hunt^ (3 vols. 8vo, 1815-22), published at Norwich, but 
never finished. Then we have Selby's Illustrations of British Ornithology, 
two folio volumes of coloui-ed plates engraved by himself, between 1821 
and 1833, with letterpress also in two volumes (8vo, 1825-33), a second 

■'• Herr Gatke's remarkable Vogehvarte Helgoland (Braunschweig: 1891), which 
treats of much more than European ornithology, has been elsewhere (Migration, p. 
562) mentioned. It remains to say that a fair English translation by Mr. Rosenstock, 
with a preface by Mr. Harvie-Bi-own, has appeared under the title of Heligoland 
as an Ornithological Observatory (Edinburgh : 1895). 

" The text was written, I was told l)y the late Mr. Joseph Clarke, by R. C. 
Coxe, who was a schoolboy when it was begun, but died in 1863 Archdeacon of 


edition of tlie first volume being also issued (1833), for the author, having 
yielded to the pressure of the "Quinarian" doctrines then in vogue, 
thought it necessary to adjust his classification accordingly, and it must 
be admitted that for information the second edition is best. In 1828 
Fleming brought out his History of British Animals (8vo), in which the 
Birds are treated at considerable length (pp. 41-146), though not with 
great success. In 1835 Jenyns (afterwards Blomefield) produced an 
excellent Manual of British Vertebrate Animals, a volume (8vo) executed 
with great scientific skill, the Birds again receiving due attention (pp. 
49-286), and the descriptions of the various species being as accurate as 
they are |terse.^ In the same year began the Coloured Illustrations of 
British Birds ami their Eggs of H. L. Meyer (4to), which was completed in 
1843, whereof a second edition (7 vols. 8vo, 1842-50) was brought out, 
and subsequently (1852-57) a reissue of the latter. In 1836 appeared 
Eyton's History of the rarer British Birds, intended as a sequel to Bewick's 
well-known volumes, to which no important additions had been made 
since the issue of 1821. The year 1837 saw the beginning of two 
remarkable works by MacgiUivray and Yarrell respectively, and each 
entituled A History of British Birds. Of the first, undoubtedly the more 
original and in many respects the more minutely accurate, mention will 
again have to be made, and, save to state that its five volumes were not 
completed till 1852, nothing more needs now to be added. The second 
unquestionably became the standard work on British Ornithology, a fact 
due in part to its numerous illustrations, many of them indeed ill drawn, 
though all carefully engraved, but much more to the breadth of the 
author's views and the judgment with which they were set forth. In 
practical acquaintance with the internal structure of Birds, and in the 
perception of its importance in classification, he was certainly not behind 
his rival ; but he well knew that his public in a Book of Birds not only 
did not want a series of anatomical treatises, but would even resent their 
introduction. He had the art to conceal his art, and his work was there- 
fore a success, while the other was unhappily a failure. Yet with all his 
knowledge he was deficient in some of the qualities which a great 
naturalist ought to possess. His conception of what his work should be 
seems to have been perfect, his execution was not equal to the conception. 
However, he was not the first nor will he be the last to fall short in this 
respect. For him it must be said that, whatever may have been done by 
the generation of British ornithologists now becoming advanced in life, 
he educated them to do it ; nay, his influence even extends to a younger 
generation still, though they may hardly be aware of it. Of Yarrell' s 
work in three volumes, a second edition was published in 1845, a third 
in 1856, and a fourth, begun in 1871, and almost wholly rewritten, was 
finished in 1885 by Mr. Saunders, who in 1888 and 1889, carrying out 
the suggestion of a brother ornithologist, skilfully condensed the whole 
into a single volume, forming a useful Manual of British Birds, illustrated 
by the same figures as the larger work. Of other compilations based upon 
it, without which they could not have been composed, there is no need to 

••■ A series of MS. notes which he gave to the Cambridge Museum shews that he 
was largely aided by his brother-in-law Henslow, the botanist. 


speak. 1 One of the few appearing since, with the same scope, that are not 
borrowed is Jardine's Birds of Great Britain and Ireland (4 vols, 8vo, 
1838-43), forming part of his Naturalist's Library ; and Gould's Birds 
of Great Britain has been already mentioned.^ Two imposing folios, with 
very good plates by Mr, Keulemans, were issued with the title of Rough 
Notes on Birds in the British Islands during 1881 to 1887, by the late 
Mr. Booth (whose " Museum " is one of the popular sights of Brighton),, 
and contain a great number of personal observations, though few of any 
novelty or value, while as a record of butchery the work fortunately stands 
alone. Lord Lilford's Coloured Figures of the Birds of the British Islands, 
begun in 1885 and now nearly completed, has given great pleasure to 
many lovers of Birds, by whom such a series of plates was strongly 
desired, for they are generally good, and some of the latest, by Mr. 
Thorburn, are exquisite.^ 

The good effects of "Faunal" works such as those named in the fore- 
going rapid survey none can doubt, " Every kingdom, every province, 
should have its own monographer," wrote Gilbert White, and experience 
has proved the truth of his assertion. It is from the labours of mono- 

•^ Yet two of them have attained great popularity, and have exerted such an in- 
fluence in this country, that as a matter of history their authors, both deceased, must 
here be named, though I would willingly pass them over, for I have not a word to 
say in favour of either. By every well-informed ornithologist the History of British 
Birds of Mr, Morris has long been known to possess no authority ; but about Mr. 
Seebohm's volumes with the same title there is much difference of opinion, some hold- 
ing them in high esteem. The greater part of their text, when it is correct, will be 
found on examination to be a paraphrase of what others had already written, for 
even the information given on the author's personal experience, which was doubtless 
considerable, extends little or no further. But all this is kept studiously out of sight, 
and the whole is so skilfully dressed as to make the stalest observations seem novel 
— a merit, I am assured, in some eyes. Of downright errors and wild conjectures there 
are enough, and they are confidently asserted with the misuse of language and absence 
of reasoning power that mark all the author's writings, though the air of scientific 
treatment assumed throughout has deluded many an unwary reader. 

"^ Though contravening our plan, we must for its great merits notice here the late 
Mr. More's series of papers in Tlie Ibis for 1865, "On the Distribution of Birds iu 
Great Britain during the Nesting Season." 

^ Local ornithologies are far too numerous to be named at length. Fortunately 
Mr, Christy has published a Catalogue of them {Zool. 1890, pp, 247-267, and 
separately, London: 1891), and only a few of the most remarkable and the most 
recent need here be mentioned. The first three volumes of Thompson's Natural 
History of Ireland (1849-51) cannot be passed over, as containing an excellent 
account, to equal which no approach has since been made, of the Birds of that 
country, though there are many important papers by later Irish ornithologists, as 
Messrs, Barrett-Hamilton, Blake-Knox, H, L, Jameson, R, Paterson, Ussher and 
Warren, and conspicuously by Mr. Barrington. For North Britain, Robert Gray's 
Birds of the West of Scotland (1871), and the series of district Vertebrate Faunas, begun 
by Messrs. Harvie-Brown and T. E. Buckley, of which 7 volumes have now appeared — 
treating of (1) Sutherland, Caithness and West Cromarty, (2) Outer Hebrides, (3) Argyll 
and Inner Hebrides, (4) lona and Mull (this by Graham), (5) Orkney and (6 and 7) 
Moray — while others, as Dee and Shetland, are in progress, calls for especial remark, as 
does Mr. Muirhead's Birds of Berwickshire (2 vols. 1889-96) ; but for want of space 
many meritorious papers in journals, by Alston, Dalgleish, W.Evans, Lumsden and others 
must here be unnoticed. The local works on Englisli Birds are still more numerous, 
but among them may be especially named the oldest of all, Tucker's unfinished Ond- 
thologia Danmoniensis (4to, 1809), an ambitious work of which not even the whole of 


graphers of this kind, but on a more extended scale, when brought together, 
that the valuable results follow which inform us as to Geographical 
Distribution. Important as they are, they do not of themselves con- 
stitute Ornithology as a science ; and an enquiry, no less wide and far 
more recondite, still remains — that having for its object the discovery of 
the natural groups of Birds, and the mutual relations of those groups, 
which has always been of the deepest interest, and to it we must now recur. 
But nearly all the authors above named, it will have been seen, trod 
the same ancient paths, and in the works of scarcely one of them had 
any new spark of intelligence been struck out to enlighten the gloom 
which surrounded the investigator. It is now for us to trace the rise of 
the present more advanced school of ornithologists whose labours, pre- 
liminary as we must still regard them to be, yet give signs of far greater 
promise. It would probably be unsafe to place its origin further back 
than a few scattered hints contained in the ' Pterographische Fragmente ' 
of Christian Ludwig Nitzsch, published in the Magazin filr den neuesten 
Zustand der Naturhunde (edited by Voigt) for May 1806 (xi. pp. 393-417), 
and even these might be left to pass unnoticed, were it not that we recog- 
nize in them the germ of the great work which the same admirable 
zoologist subsequently accomplished. In these " Fragments," apparently 
his earliest productions, we find him engaged on the subject with which 
his name wUl always be especially identified, the structure and arrange- 
ment of the feathers that form the proverbial characteristic of Birds. 
But, though the observations set forth in this essay were sufficiently 
novel, there is not much in them that at the time would have attracted 
attention, for perhaps no one — not even the author himself — could have 
then foreseen to what important end they would, in conjunction with 
other investigations, lead future naturalists ; but they are marked by the 
close and patient determination that eminently distinguishes all the work 
of their author ; and, since it will be necessary for us to return to this 

the somewhat turgid Introduction was published ; but the two parts printed shew the 
author to have been a physiologist, anatomist and outdoor-observer far beyond most 
men of his time, beside being of a philosophical turn, well acquainted with literature, 
and an agi-eeable ^vriter. At a long interval follow Dillwyn's Fauna and Flora of 
Svjansea (1848) ; Knox's Ornithological Rambles in Sussex (1849) ; Mr. Harting's 
Birds of Middlesex (1866) ; Stevenson's Birds of Norfolk (3 vols. 1866-90, completed 
by Mr. Southwell) ; Cecil Smith's Birds of Somerset (1869) and of Guernsey (1879) ; 
Mr. Cordeaux's Birds of the Huniber District (1872) ; Hancock's Birds of Northumber- 
land and Durham (1874) ; The Birds of Nottinghamshire by Messrs. Sterland and 
Whitaker (1879) ; Rodd's Birds of Oormmll, edited by Mr. Harting (1880) ; the 
Vertebrate Fauna of Yorkshire (1881), in which the Birds are by Mr. W. E. Clarke ; 
Churchill Babington's Birds of Suffolk (1884-6) ; and Mr. A. C. Smith's Birds of 
Wiltshire (1887). Since the publication of Mr. Christy's Catalogue a few more have 
to be briefly mentioned, and first his own volume on the Birds of Essex (1890), while 
those of Sussex were treated in 1891 by Mr. Borrer ; Worcestershire (1891) by Mr. 
Willis Bund; Devonshire (1891) by Mr. Pidsley and (1892) by Messrs. D'Urban and 
Mathew (Suppl. and'ed. 2, 1895); Lakeland (1892) by Mr. H. A. Macpherson ; 
Lancashire (ed. 2, 1893) by Mr. F. S. Mitchell ; London (1893) by Mr. Swann ; 
Derbyshire (1893) by Mr. Whitlock, and finally Northamptonshire (2 vols. 1895) by 
Lord Lilford. The papers in journals are countless, but almost all up to the time of 
compilation are contained in the excellent List of Faunal Publications relating to 
British Birds, published in 1880 by Dr. Coues {Proc. V. S. Nat. Mus. ii. pp. 


part of the subject later, there is here no need to say more of tliem. In 
the following year another set of hints — of a kind so different that 
probably no one then living would have thought it possible that they 
should ever be brought in correlation with those of Nitzsch — are con- 
tained in a memoir on Fishes contributed to the tenth volume of the 
Annales du Museum d'histoire naturelle of Paris by Etienne Geoff roy St.- 
Hilaire in 1807.^ Here we have it stated as a general truth (p. 100) 
that young birds have the sternum formed of five separate pieces — one in 
the middle, being its keel, and two " annexes " on each side to which the 
ribs are articulated — all, however, finally uniting to form the single 
"breast-bone." Further on (pp. 101, 102) we find observations as to the 
number of ribs which are attached to each of the " annexes " — there being 
sometimes more of them articulated to the anterior than to the posterior, 
and in certain forms no ribs belonging to one, all being applied to the 
other. Moreover, the author goes on to remark that in adult birds 
trace of the origin of the sternum from five centres of ossification is 
always more or less indicated by sutures, and that, though these sutures 
had been generally regarded as ridges for the attachment of the sternal 
muscles, they indeed mark the extreme points of the five primary bony 
pieces of the sternum. 

In 1810 appeared at Heidelberg the first volume of Tiedemann's 
carefully-wrought Anatomie und Naturgeschichte der Vogel — which shews 
a remarkable advance upon the work which Cuvier did in 1805, and in 
some respects is superior to his later production of 1817. It is, however, 
only noticed here on account of the numerous references made to it by 
succeeding writers, for neither in this nor in the author's second volume 
(not published until 1814) did he propound any systematic arrangement 
of the Class. More germaiie to our present subject are the OsteograpMsche 
Beitrdge zur Naturgeschichte der Vogel of Nitzsch, printed at Leipzig in 
1811 — a miscellaneous set of detached essays on some peculiarities of the 
skeleton or portions of the skeleton of certain Birds — one of the most 
remarkable of which is that on the component parts of the foot (pp. 
101-105) pointing out the aberration from the ordinary structure 
exhibited by Gaprimulgus (Nightjar) and Gypselus (Swift) — an aberration 
which, if rightly understood, would have conveyed a warning to these orni- 
thological systematists who put their trust in Birds' toes for characters on 
which to erect a classification, that there was in them much more of 
importance, hidden beneath the integument, than had hitherto been 
suspected ; but the warning was of little avail, if any, till many years 
had elapsed. However, Nitzsch had not as yet seen his way to proposing 
any methodical arrangement of the various groups of Birds, and it was 
not until some eighteen months later that a scheme of classification in 
the main anatomical was attempted. 

This scheme was the work of Blasius Merrem, who, in a communica- 
tion to the Academy of Sciences of Berlin on the 10th December 1812, 
and published in its Ahhandlungen for the following year (pp. 237-259), 

^ In the .Philosophic Anatomiquc (i. pp. 69-101, and especially ])p. ISf), 136), 
which appeared in 1818, Geoffroy St. -Hihiire explained the views lie had adopted at 
greater length. 


set forth a Tentamen Systematis naturalis Avium, no less' modestly entitled 
than modestly executed. The attempt of Merrera must be regarded as the 
virtual starting-point of the more recent efforts in Systematic Ornithology, 
and in that view its proposals deserve to be stated at length. Some of its 
details, as is Onl}'- natural, cannot be sustained vs'ith our present knowledge, 
resulting from the information accumulated by various investigators through- 
out more than eighty years ; but it is certainly not too much to say that 
Merrem's merits are incomparably superior to those of any of his pre- 
decessors as well as to those of the majority of his successors for a long 
time to come ; while the neglect of his treatise by many (until of late it 
would not be erroneous to say by most) of those who have since written on 
the subject seems inexcusable save on the score of inadvertence. Premising 
then that the chief characters assigned by this ill-appreciated systematist to 
his several groups are drawn from almost all parts of the structure of Birds, 
and are supplemented by some others of their more prominent peculiarities, 
we present the following abstract of his scheme : ^ — 


1. Aves aereffi. 

A. Rapaces. — a. Accipitres — VuUur, Falco, Sagittarius. 

b. Strix. 

B. Hymenopocles. — a. Clielidones : 

a. C. nocturnee — Caprimulgus. 

/3. C. diurnse — Hirundo. 
b. Oscines : 

a. 0. conirostres — Loxia, Fringilla, Einberiza, Tan- 

^. 0. tenuirostres — Alauda, Motacilla, Muscicapa, 
Todus, Lanius, Ampelis, Turdus, Paradisea, 
Buphaga, Sturnus, Oriolus, Gracula, Coracias, 
Corvus, Pipra ?, Parus, Sitta, Certhise quaedam. 

C. Mellisugse. — Trochilus, Certhiw et Upupw plurimse. 

D. Dendrocolaptse. — Picus, Yunx. 

E. Brevilingues. — a. TJpupa ; h. Ispidse. 

F. Levirostres. — a. PMinphastus, Scythropsi; h. Psittacus. 

G. Coccyges. — Cuculus, Trogon, Bucco, Crotophaga, 

2. Aves terrestres. 

A. Columba. 

B. Gallinse. 

3. Aves aquaticae. 

A. Odontorhynchi : a. Boscades — Anas ; h. Mergus ; c. Phoenicopterus. 

B. Platyrhynchi. — Pelicanus, Plmeton, Plotus. 

C. Aptenodytes. 

D. Urinatrices : a. Cepphi — Alcu, Colymbi pedibus palmatis ; h. Podiceps, 

Colymhi pedibus lobatis. 

E. Stenorhynchi. — Procellaria, Diomedea, Larus, Sterna, Rhynchops. 

4. Aves palustres. 

A. Rnsticolas : a. Phalarides — Rallus, Fulica, Parra ; h. Limosugse — Numenius, 

Scoloptao:, Tringa, Charadrixis, Recitrmrostra. 

B. Grallffi : a. Erodii — Ardew uague intermedio serrato, Cancroma ; h. Pelargi 

• — Ciconia, Mycteria, Tantali quidam, Scopus, Platalea ; c. Geraiii — 
Ardese eristatse, Grues, Psopliia. 

C. Otis. 

II. Aves hatit.e. — Struthio. 

■'■ The names of the genera are, he tells lis, for the most part those of Linnseus, 
as being the best-known, though not the best. To some of the Linneean genera he 


Tlie most novel feature, and one the importance of wliich. most 
ornitliologists of tlie present day are fully prepared to admit, is of course 
tlie separation of the Class Aves into two great Divisions, which from one 
of the most obvious distinctions they present were called by its author 
Carinatse ^ and Ratitge,^ according as the sternum possesses a keel or not. 
But Merrem, who subsequently communicated to the Academy of Berlin 
a more detailed memoir on the " flat-breasted " Birds,^ was careful not 
here to rest his Divisions on the presence or absence of their sternal 
character alone. He concisely cites (p. 238) no fewer than eight other 
characters of more or less value as peculiar to the Carinate Division, the 
first of which is that the feathers have their barbs furnished with hooks, 
in consequence of which the barbs, including those of the wing- quills, 
cling closely together ; while among the rest may be mentioned the 
l^osition of the furcula and coracoids,'^ which keep the wing-bones apart ; 
the limitation of the number of the lumbar vertebrte to fifteen, and of the 
carpals to two ; as well as the divergent direction of the iliac bones, — the 
corresponding characters peculiar to the Ratite Division being (p. 259) 
the disconnected condition of the barbs of the feathers, through the 
absence of any hooks whereby they might cohere ; the non-existence of 
the furcula, and the coalescence of the coracoids with the scapulae (or, as 
he expressed it, the extension of the scapulae, to supply the place of the 
coracoids, which he thought were wanting) ; the lumbar vertebrae being 
twenty and the carpals three in number ; and the parallelism of the iliac 

As for Merrem's partitioning of the inferior groups there is less to be 
said in its praise as a whole, though credit must be given to his anatomical 
knowledge for leading him to the perception of several affinities, as well 
as differences, that had never before been suggested by superficial 
systematists. But it must be confessed that (chiefly, no doubt, from 
paucity of accessible material) he overlooked many points, both of alliance 
and the opposite, which since his time have gradually come to be 
admitted. For instance, he seems not to have been aware of the dis- 
tinction, already shewn by Nitzsch (as above mentioned) to exist, between 
the Swallows and the Swifts ; and, by putting the genus Coracias among his 
Oscines Tenuirostrcs ^ without any remark, proved that he was not in all 
respects greatly in advance of his age ; but on the other hand he most 
righteously judged that some s|)ecies hitherto referred to the genera 
Certhia and TJfU'pa required removal to other positions, and it is much to 

dare not, however, assign a place, for instance, Buceros, Masmatopws, Alerops, 
Glarcola (Brisson's genus, by the way) and Palamedea. 

1 From carina, a keel. 

- From ratis, a raft or flat-bottomed barge. 

^ " Beschreibuug der Gerippes eiues Casuars nebst einigeu beilaufigen Bemer- 
kungen liber die flachbriistigen. Vogel." — Abhandl. der Berlin. Akademie, Phijs. 
Klassc, 1817, pp. 179-198, tabb. i.-iii. 

^ Merrem, as did many others in his time, calls the CORACOIDS "claviculw" ; but 
it is now well understood that in Birds tlie real davicidm form the FURCULA. 

" He also placed the genus Todus in the same group, but it must be borne in mind 
that in his time a great many Birds were referred to that genus which certainly do 
not belong to it, and it may well have been that he never had the opportunity of 
e-xamining a specimen of the genus as nowadays restricted. 


be regretted that tbe very concise terms in whicli his decisions were given 
to the world make it impossible to determine with any degree of certainty 
the extent of the changes in this respect which he would have introduced. 
Had Merrem published his scheme on an enlarged scale, it seems likely 
that he would have obtained for it far more attention, and possibly some 
portion of acceptance. He had deservedly attained no little rejjutation 
as a descriptive anatomist, and his claims to be regarded as a systematic 
reformer would probably have been admitted in his lifetime. As it was 
his scheme ajsparently fell flat, and not until many years had elapsed were 
its merits at all generally recognized. 

Notice has next to be taken of a Memoir on the Employment of 
Sternal Characters in establishing Natural Families among Birds, which 
was read by De Blainville before the Academy of Sciences of Paris in 
1815,1 but not published in full for more than five years later {Journ. 
de Physique, xcii. pp. 185-215), though an abstract forming part of a 
Prodrome dhme nouvelle distribution du Eegne Animal, appeared earlier {op. 
cit. Ixxxiii. pp. 252, 253, 258, 259 ; and Bull. Soc. Philomat. Paris, 1816, 
p. 110). This is a very disappointing performance, since the author 
observes that, notwithstanding his new classification of Birds is based on 
a study of the sternal apparatus, yet, because that lies wholly within the 
body, he is compelled to have recourse to such outward characters as are 
afforded by the proportion of the limbs and the disposition of the toes — 
even as had been the practice of most ornithologists before him ! It is 
evident that the features of the sternum on which De Blainville chiefly 
relied, though he states the contrary, were those drawn from its posterior 
margin, which no very extensive experience of specimens is needed to 
shew are of comparatively slight value ; for the number of '' echancrures" 
— notches as they have sometimes been called in English — when they 
exist, goes but a very short way as a guide, and is so variable in some very 
natural groups as to be even in that short way occasionally misleading.^ 
There is no appearance of his having taken into consideration the far 
more trustworthy characters furnished by the anterior part of the sternum, 
as well as by the coracoids and the furcula. Still De Blainville made 
some advance in a right direction, as for instance by elevating the Parrots ^ 
and the Pigeons as " Ordres," equal in rank to that of the Birds-of-Prey 
and some others. According to the testimony of UHerminier (for whom 
see later) he divided the " Passereaux " into two sections, the "faux " and 
the " vrais " ; but, while the latter were very correctly defined, the former 
Avere most arbitrarily separated from the " Grimpeurs." He also split his 
Grallatores and Naiatores (practically identical with the Grallx and Anseres 
of Linnaeus) each into four sections ; but he failed to see — as on his own 
principles he ought to have seen — that each of these sections was at least 
equivalent to almost any one of his other " Ordres." He had, however, 
the courage to act up to his own professions in collocating the Rollers 

^ Not 1812, as has sometimes been stated, probably on his own authority [loc. cit. 
p. 110), but this seems to be a misprint for 1815. 

' Cf. Philos. Trans. 1869, p. 337, note. 

^ This view had been long before taken by Willughby, but abandoned by later 


(Coracias) with the Bee-eaters {Merops), and had the sagacity to surmise 
that Menura was not a Gallinaceous Bird. The greatest benefit conferred 
by this memoir probably is that it stimulated the ettorts, presently to be 
mentioned, of one of his pupils, and that it brought more distinctly into 
sight that other feature (page Jf.8), originally discovered by Merrem, of which 
it now clearly became the duty of systematizers to take cognizance. 

Following the order of time we next have to recur to the labours of 
Nitzsch, who, in 1820, in a treatise on the Nasal Glands of Birds — a 
subject that had already attracted the attention of Jacobson (Nouv. Bull. 
Soc. Philomat. Paris, iii. pp. 267-269) — first putfortli in Meckel's Beuisches 
Archiv fiir die Physiologic (vi. pp. 251-269) a statement of his general 
views on ornithological classification which were based on a comparative 
examination of those bodies in various forms. It seems unnecessary here 
to occupy space by giving an abstract of his plan,i which hardly includes 
any but European species, because it was subsequently elaborated with no 
inconsiderable modifications in a way that must presently be mentioned 
at greater length. But the scheme, crude as it was, possesses some 
interest. It is not only a key to much of his later work — to nearly all 
indeed that was published in his lifetime — but in it are founded several 
definite groups (for example, Passerinse, and Picariee) that subsequent 
experience has shewn to be more or less natural ; and it further serves 
as additional evidence of the breadth of his views, and his trust in the 
teachings of anatomy ; for it is clear that, if organs so apparently 
insignificant as these nasal glands were found worthy of being taken into 
account, and capable of forming a base of operations, in drawing up a 
system, it would almost follow that there can be no part of a Bird's 
organization that by proper study would not help to supply some means 
of solving the great question of its affinities. This seems to be one of the 
most certain general truths in Zoology, and it is probably admitted in 
theory to be so by most zoologists, but their practice is opposed to it ; for, 
whatever group of animals be studied, it is found that one set or another 
of characters is the chief favourite of the authors consulted — each gener- 
ally taking a separate set, and that to the exclusion of all others, instead 
of eftecting a combination of all the sets and taking the aggregate. - 

That Nitzsch took this extended view is abundantly proved by the 
valuable series of ornithotomical observations which he must have been 
for some time accumulating, and almost immediately afterwards began to 
contribute to the younger Naumann's excellent Naturgeschichte der Vogel 
Deutschlands, already noticed. Beside a concise general treatise on the 
Organization of Birds to be found in the introduction to that work (i. pp. 

- This plan, having been repeated by Schopss in 1829 (ojj. cU. xii. p. 73), became 
known to Owen in 1835, who then drew to it the attention of Kirby {Seventh Bridgc- 
wOjter Treatise, ii. pp. 444, 445), and in the next year referred to it in his own article 
" Aves " (Todd's Cyclop. Anat. i. p. 226), so that Englishmen need no excuse for not 
being aware of one of Nitzsch's labours, though his more advanced work of 1829, 
presently to be mentioned, was not cited by Owen. 

^ A remarkable instance of this may be seen in the Systema Avium, promulgated 
in 1830 by Wagler (a man with great knowledge of Birds) in his JVatiirlickes System 
der Amiohibien {]}]). 77-128). He took the tongue as his chief guide, and found it 
indeed an unruly member. 



23-52), a brief description from Nitzscli's pen of the peculiarities of the 
internal structure of nearly every genus is incorporated with the author's 
prefatory remarks, as each passed under consideration, and these de- 
scriptions being almost without exceiJtion so drawn up as to be com- 
jiarative are accordingly of great utility to the student of classification, 
though they have been greatly neglected. Upon these descriptions he was 
still engaged till death, in 1837, put an end to his labours, when his 
place as Naumann's assistant for the remainder of the work was taken by 
Rudolph Wagner ; but, from time to time, a few more, which he had 
already completed, made their posthumous appearance in it, and, even in 
recent years, some selections from his unpublished papers have through 
the care of Giebel been presented to the public. Throughout the whole 
of this series the same marvellous industry and scrupulous accuracy are 
manifested, and attentive study of it will shew how many times Nitzsch 
anticipated the conclusions at which it took some modern taxonomers fifty 
years to arrive. Yet over and over again his determination of the afiinities 
of several groups even of European Birds was disregarded ; and his labours, 
being contained in a bulky and costly work, were hardly known at all 
outside of his own country, and within it by no means ajjpreciated so much 
as they deserved ^ — for even Naumann himself, who gave them publication, 
and was doubtless in some degree influenced by them, utterly failed to 
perceive the importance of the characters oflfered by the song-muscles of 
certain groups, though their peculiarities were all duly described and 
recorded by his coadjutor, as some indeed had been long before by Cuvier 
in his famous dissertation ^ on the organs of voice in Birds {Legons d'anat. 
comp. iv. pp. 450-491). Nitzsch's name was subsec^uently dismissed by 
Cuvier without a word of praise, and in terms which would have been 
applicable to many another and inferior author, while Temminck, terming 
Naumann's work an " ouvrage de luxe," — it being in truth one of the 
cheapest for its contents ever published, — eff'ectually shut it out from the 
realms of science. In Britain it seems to have been positively unknown 
until quoted some years after its completion by a catalogue-compiler on 
account of some peculiarities of nomenclature which it presented.^ 

Now we must return to France, where, in 1827, L'Herminier, a Creole 
of Guadeloupe and a pupil of De Blainville's, contributed to the Ades of 
the Linnaean Society of Paris for that year (vi. pp. 3-93) the 'Eecherches 
sur I'appareil sternal des Oiseaux/ which the precej)t and example of his 
master had prompted him to undertake, and Cuvier had found for him 
the means of executing. A second and considerably enlarged edition of 
this very remarkable treatise was published as a separate work in the 
following year. We have already seen that De Blainville, though fully 
persuaded of the great value of sternal features as a method of classification, 
had been compelled to fall back upon the old pedal characters so often 

•^ Their value was, however, understood by Gloger, who in 1834, as will presently 
be seen, expressed his regret at not being able to use them. 

^ Cuvier's first observations on the subject seem to have appeared in the Magazin 
£ncyclo2}edique for 1795 (ii. pp. 330, 358). 

^ However, to this catalogue-compiler my gratitude is due, for thereby I became 
acquainted with the work and its merits. 



emploj-ed before ; but now the scholar had learnt to excel his teacher, and 
not only to form an at least provisional arrangement of the various 
members of the Class, based on sternal characters, but to describe these 
characters at some length, and so give a reason for the faith that was in 
him. There is no evidence, so far as we can see, of his having been aware 
of Merrem's views ; but like that anatomist he without hesitation divided 
the Class into two great " coupes,''' to which he gave, however, no other 
names than " Oiseaux Normaux " and " Oiseaiix Anomaux," — exactly 
corresponding with his predecessor's Garinatse, and Eatitee — and, moreover, 
he had a great advantage in founding these groups, since he had discovered, 
apparently from his own investigations, that the mode of ossification in each 
was distinct ; for hitherto the statement of there being five centres of 
ossification in every Bird's sternum seems to have been accepted as a 
general truth, without contradiction, whereas in the Ostrich and the Ehea, 
at any rate, L'Herminier found that there were but two such primitive 
points,^ and from analogy he judged that the same would be the case with 
the Cassowary and the Emeu, which, with the two forms mentioned 
above, made up the whole of the " Oiseaux Anomaux " whose existence was 
then generally acknowledged.^ These are the forms which composed the 
Family previously termed Cursores by De Blainville ; but L'Herminier 
was able to distinguish no fewer than thirtj^-four Families of " Oiseaux 
Normaux" and the judgment with which their separation and definition 
were effected must be deemed on the whole to be most creditable to him. 
It is to be remarked, however, that the wealth of the Paris Museum, 
which he enjoyed to the full, placed him in a situation incomparably more 
favourable for arriving at results than that which was occupied by Merrem, 
to whom many of the most remarkable forms were inaccessible, while 
L'Herminier had at his disposal examples of nearly every type then 
discovered. But the latter used this privilege wisely and well — not, after 
the manner of De Blainville and others subsequent to him, relying solely 
or even chiefly on the character afforded by the posterior portion of the 
sternum, but taking also into consideration those of the anterior, as well 
as of the in some cases still more important characters presented by the 
presternal bones, such as the furcula, coracoids and scapulae. L'Herminier 
thus separated the families of " Normal Birds " : — 

Accipitres, Linu. 
— Gypogeranus, 

" Accipitres "- 
" Serpentaires ' 


" Cliouettes " — Strix, Linn. 
" Touracos " — Ojmetus, Vieillot. 
" Perroquets " — Psittacus, Linu. 
"Colibris" — Trochilus, Linn. 
" Martinets " — Cypselus, Illiger. 
" Engoulevents " — Caprimulgus, 

"Coiicoiis" — Cuculus, Linn. 

10. " Couroueous " — Trogon, Linu. 

11. "EoUiers" — Galgulus, Brissou. 

12. "Guepiers" — Merops, Linn. 

13. " Martins-Pecheurs " — Alcedo, Linn. 
14." "Calaos" — Bicceros, Linu. 

15. "Toucans" — Ramphastos, Linn. 

16. "Pies" — PiCM5, Linn. 

17. " ^^popsides " — Epopsides, Vieillot. 

18. "Passereaux" — Passeres, Linn. 

19. "Pigeons" — Golumba, Linn. 

20. " Galliuaces " — GaUinacca. 

•'■ This fact in the Ostricli appears to have been knowu already to Geoll'roy St.- 
Hilaire from his own observation in Egypt, but does not seem to have been published 
by him. 

^ Considerable doubts were at that time, as said elsewhere (Kiwi), entertained iu 
Paris as to the existence of the Aplcnjx. 



" Tinamous " — Tiiiamus, Latham. 



"Foulques qm Poules d'eau " — 


Fulica, Linn, 



"Grnes" — Gi-us, Pallas. 



" Herodions " — Herodii, Illiger. 



No name given, bnt said to include 


"les ibis et les spatules." 



'•Gralles ou lilchassiers " — Grallie. 


" Mouettes " — Larus, Linn. 

" Petrels " — Procdlaria, Linn. 

" Pelicans " — Pelecanus, Linn. 

" Canards " — Anas, Linn. 

" Grebes " — Podiceps, Latham. 

" Plongeons " — Colymh^is, Latham.. 

"Pingonins" — Alca, Latham. 

" Manchots " — Aptenodytes, Forster. 

The preceding list is given to shew the very marked agreement of 
L'Herminier's results compared with those obtained fifty years later by 
another investigator, who approached the subject from an entirely different, 
though still osteological, basis. The sequence of the Families adopted is of 
course ojoen to much criticism ; but that would be wasted upon it at the 
jDresent day ; and the cautious naturalist will remember that it is generally 
difficult and in most cases absolutely impossible to deploy even a small 
section of the Animal Kingdom into line. So far as a linear arrangement 
will permit, the above list is very creditable, and will not only pass 
miister, but cannot easily be surpassed for convenience even at this 
moment. Experience has shewn that a few of the Families are composite, 
and therefore require further splitting ; but examples of actually false group- 
ing cannot be said to occur. The most serious fault perhaps to be found is 
the intercalation of the Ducks (No. 30) between the Pelicans and the 
Grebes — but every systematist must recognize the difficulty there is in 
finding a place for the Ducks in any arrangement we can at present con- 
trive that shall be regarded as satisfactory. Many of the excellences of 
L'Herminier's method could not be pointed out without too great a 
sacrifice of space, because of the details into which it would be necessary 
to enter ; but the trenchant way in which he shewed that the " Passereaux " 
— a group of which. Cuvier had said " Son caractere semble d'abord 
purement n^gatif," and had failed to define the limits — differed so 
completely from every other assemblage, while maintaining among its own 
innumerable members an almost perfect essential homogeneity, is very 
striking, and shews how admirably he could grasp his subject. Not less 
conspicuous are his merits in disjDOsing of the groups of what are 
ordinarily known as Water-birds, his indicating the affinity of the Eails 
(No. 22) to the Cranes (No. 23), and the severing of the latter from the 
Herons (No. 24). His union of the Snipes, Sandpipers and Plovers into 
one group (No. 26) and the alliance, especially dwelt upon, of that group 
with the Gulls (No. 27) are steps which, though indicated by Merrem, are 
here for the first time clearly laid down ; and the separation of the Gulls 
from the Petrels (No. 28) — a step in advance already taken, it is true, by 
Illiger — is here placed on indefeasible ground. With all this, perhaps on 
account of all this, L'Herminier's efforts did not find favour with his 
scientific superiors, and for the time things remained as though his investi- 
gations had never been carried on.^ 

Two years later Nitzsch, who was indefatigable in his endeavour to 

^ With the exception of a brief and wholly inadequate notice in the Edinburgh 
Journal of Natural History (i. p. 90), I am not aware of attention having been directed 
to L'Herminier's labours by British ornithologists for several years after ; but con- 
sidering how they were employing themselves at the time (as is shewn in another 
place) this is not surprising. 


discover the Natural Families of Birds, and had been pursuing a series of 
researches into their vascular system, published the result, at Halle in 
Saxony, in his Observationes cle Avium arteria carotide communi, in 
which is included a classification drawn up in accordance with the varia- 
tion of structure which that important vessel presented in the several 
groups that he had opportunities of examining. By this time he had 
visited several of the principal museums on the Continent, among others 
Leyden (where Temminck lived) and Paris (where he had frequent inter- 
course with Cuvier), thus becoming acquainted with a considerable number 
of exotic forms that had hitherto been inaccessible to him. Consequently 
his labours had attained to a certain degree of completeness in this direc- 
tion, and it may therefore be expedient here to name the different groups 
which he thus thought himself entitled to consider established. They are 
as follows : — 

I. AVES CAEiNATiE [L'H. " Oiseaux Normaux "]. 

A. Aves Cariuatse aerese. 

1. Accipitrinw [VH.. 1, 2 partim, 3] ; 2. Passerinie [L'H. 18] ; 3. Macrochires\\j'll. 

6, 7] ; 4. CumliniB [L'H. 8, 9, 10 (qu. 11, 12 ?)] ; 5. Picinse [L'H. 15, 16] ; 6. 

Fsittdcinw [L'H. 5] ; 7. Lipogloss^ [L'H. 13, 14, 17] ; 8. Amphiboly [L'H. 4], 

B. Aves Carinatse terrestres. 
1. Golumlinse [L'H. 19] ; 2. Gallinacew [L'H. 20]. 

C. Aves Carinatse aquaticee. 

1. {= Dicholophus + Otis) [L'H. 2 partim, 26 partim] ; 2. Cfruinse [L'H. 
23] ; 3. FulicariiB [L'H. 22] ; 4. Herodiie [L'H. 24 partim] ; 5. Pelargi [L'H. 
24 partim, 25]; 6. Odontoglossi [= Phoenicopterus) [L'H. 26 partim]; 7. 
Limicolie [L'H. 26 paene omnes]. 

8. Longipennes [L'H. 27] ; 9. Nasutas [L'H. 28] ; 10. Vnguirostres [L'H. 30] ; 11. 
Steganopodes [L'H. 29] ; 12. Pygopodes [L'H. 31, 32, 33, 34]. 

II. Aves Ratit^ [L'H. "Oiseaux Anomaux"]. 

To enable the reader to compare the several groups of Nitzsch with 
the Families of L'Herminier, the numbers applied by the latter to his 
Families are suffixed in square brackets to the names of the former ; and, 
disregarding the order of sequence, which is here immaterial, the essential 
correspondence of the two systems is worthy of all attention, for it 
obviously means that these two investigators, starting from different points, 
must have been on the right track, when they so often coincided as to the 
limits of what they considered to be, and what we are now almost justified 
in calling. Natural Groups.^ But it must be observed that the classifica- 
tion of Nitzsch, just given, rests much more on characters furnished by 

^ Whether Nitzsch was cognizant of L'Herminier's views is in no way apparent. 
Tlie latter's name seems not to be even mentioned by him, but Nitzsch was in Paris 
in the summer of 1827, and it is almost impossible that he should not have heard of 
L'Herminier's labours, unless the relations between the followers of Cuvier, to whom 
Nitzsch attached himself, and those of De Blainville, whose pupil L'Herminier was, 
were such as to forbid any communication between the rival schools. Yet we have 
L'Herminier's evidence that Cuvier gave him every assistance. Nitzsch's silence, both 
on this occasion and afterwards, is very curious ; but he cannot be accused of plagiarism, 
for the scheme given above is only au amplification of that foreshadowed by him (as 
already mentioned) in 1820— a scheme which seems to have beeueqxially unknown to 
L'Herminier, perhaps through linguistic dilliculty. 


the general structure than those furnished by the carotid artery only. 
Among all the species (188, he tells us, in number) of which he examined 
specimens, he found only fottr variations in the structure of that vessel ; 
but so much has since been done in this way that there is no need to 
dwell on his particular researches, and the reader may be referred to Dr. 
Gadow's article in the text of this work (pp. 76, 77). 

Considering the enormous stride in advance made by L'Herminier, it 
is very disappointing for the historian to have to record that the next 
inquirer into the osteology of Birds achieved a disastrous failure in his 
attempt to throw light on their arrangement by means of a comparison of 
their sternum. This was Berthold, who devoted a long chapter of his 
JBeitrage zur Anatomie, published at Gottingen in 1831, to a consideration 
of the subject. So far as his introductory chapter went — the development 
of the sternum — he was, for his time, right enough and somewhat 
instructive. It was only when, after a close examination of the sternal 
apparatus of 130 species, which he carefully described, that he arrived 
(pp. 177-183) at the conclusion — astonishing to us who know of L'Her- 
minier's previous results — that the sternum of Birds cannot be used as a 
help to their classification on account of the egregious anomalies that 
would follow the proceeding — such, anomalies, for instance, as the 
separation of Gypselus from Hirundo and its alliance with. Trochilus, and 
the grouping of Hirundo and Fringilla together. He seems to have 
been persuaded that the method of Linnaeus and his disciples was 
indisputably right, and that any method which contradicted it must 
therefore be wrong. Moreover, he appears to have regarded the sternal 
structure as a mere function of the Bird's habit, especially in regard to 
its power of flight, and to have wholly overlooked the converse position 
that this power of flight must depend entirely on the structure. Good 
descriptive anatomist as he certainly was, he was false to the anatomist's 
creed ; but it is plain, from reading his careful descriptions of sternums, 
that he could not grasp the essential characters he had before him, and, 
attracted only by the more salient and obvious features, had not capacity 
to interpret the meaning of the whole. Yet he did not amiss by giving 
many figures of sternums hitherto unrepresented. We pass from him to 
a more lively theme. 

At the very beginning of the year 1832 Cuvier laid before the 
Academy of Sciences of Paris a memoir on the progress of ossification in 
the sternum of Birds, of which memoir an abstract will be found in the 
Annates des Sciences Naturelles (xxv. pp. 260-272). Herein he treated 
of several subjects with which we are not particularly concerned at 
present, and his remarks throughout were chiefly directed against certain 
theories which Etienne Geoftroy St.-Hilaire had propounded in his 
Philosophie Anatomicpie, published a good many years before, and need 
not trouble us here ; but what does signify to us now is that Cuvier 
traced in detail, illustrating his statements by the preparations he 
exhibited, the progress of ossification in the sternum of the Fowl and of 
the Duck, pointing out how it differed in each, and giving his inter- 
pretation of the differences. It had hitherto been generally believed 
that the mode of ossification in the Fowl was that which obtained in all 


Birds — the Ostrich and its allies (as L'Herminier, we have seen, had 
already shewn) excepted. But it was now made to appear that the 
Struthious Birds in this respect resembled not only the Duck, hut a 
great many other groups — Waders, Birds-of-Prey, Pigeons, Passerines 
and perhaps all Birds not Gallinaceous, — so that, according to Cuvier's 
view, the five points of ossification observed in the Gallinse,, instead of 
exhibiting the normal process, exhibited one quite exceptional, and that 
in all other Birds, so far as he had been enabled to investigate the 
matter, ossification of the sternum began at two points only, situated 
near the anterior upper margin of the side of the sternum, and gradu- 
ally crept towards the keel, into which it presently extended ; and, 
though he allowed the appearance of detached portions of calcareous 
matter at the base of the still cartilaginous keel in Ducks at a certain 
age, he seemed to consider this an individual peculiarity. This fact 
was fastened upon by Geoffroy in his reply, which was a week later pre- 
sented to the Academy, but was not published in full until the following 
year, when it appeared in the Annales du Museum (ser. 3, ii. pp. 1-22). 
Geofi'roy here maintained that the five centres of ossification existed in 
the Duck~ just as in the Fowl, and that the real difference of the 
process lay in the period at which they made their appearance, a cir- 
cumstance, which, though virtually proved by the preparations Cuvier 
had used, had been by him overlooked or misinterpreted. The Fowl 
possesses all five ossifications at birth, and for a long while the middle 
piece forming the keel is by far the largest. They all grow slowly, and 
it is not until the animal is about six months old that they are united 
into one firm bone. The Duck on the other hand, when newly hatched, 
and for nearly a month after, has the sternum wholly cartilaginous. 
Then, it is true, two lateral points of ossification appear at the margin, 
but subsequently the remaining three are developed, and when once 
formed they grow with much greater rapidity than in the Fowl, so that 
by the time the yoang Duck is quite independent of its parents, and 
can shift for itself, the whole sternum is completely bony. Nor, 
argued Geoffroy, was it true to say, as Cuvier had said, that the like 
occurred in the Pigeons and true Passerines. In their case the sternum 
begins to ossify from three very distinct points — one of which is the 
centre of ossification of the keel. As regards the Struthious Birds, they 
could not be likened to the Duck, for in them at no age was there any 
indication of a single median centre of ossification, as Geoffroy had 
satisfied himself by his own observations made in Egypt many years 
before. Cuvier seems to have acquiesced in the corrections of his views 
made by Geoffroy, and attempted no rejoinder ; but the attentive and 
impartial student of the discussion will see that a good deal w^as really 
wanting to make the latter's reply effective, though, as events have 
shewn, the former was hasty in the conclusions at which he arrived, 
having trusted too much to the first appearance of centres of ossification, 
for, had his observations in regard to other Birds been carried on with 
the same attention to detail as in regard to the Fowl, he would cer- 
tainly have reached some very different results. 

In 1834 Gloger brought out at Breslau the first (and unfortunately 


the only) part of a VoUstcindiges Handbuch der Naturgeschichte der Vogel 
Europa's, treating of the Land-birds. In the Introduction to this book 
(p. xxxviii. note) he expressed his regret at not being able to use as 
fully as he could wish the excellent researches of Nitzsch which were 
then appearing (as has been above said) in the successive parts of Nau- 
mann's great work. Notwithstanding this, to Gloger seems to belong 
the credit of being the first author to avail himself, in a book intended 
for practical ornithologists, of the new light that had already been shed 
on Systematic Ornithology ; and accordingly we have the second Order 
of his arrangement, the Aves Passerinse, divided into two Suborders : — 
Singing Passerines (melodusse), and Passerines without an apparatus of 
Song-muscles (anomalse) — the latter including what some later writers 
called Picariee. For the rest his classification demands no particular 
remark ; but that in a work of this kind he had the courage to 
recognize, for instance, stich a fact as the essential diff'erence between 
Swallows and Swifts, lifts him considerably above the crowd of other 
ornithological writers of his time. 

An improvement on the old method of classification by purely 
external characters was introduced to the Academy of Sciences of Stock- 
holm by Sundevall in 1835, and was published the following year in 
its Handlingar (pp. 43-130). This was the foundation of a more 
extensive work of which, from the influence it still exerts, it will be 
necessary to treat later, and there will be no need now to enter much 
into details respecting the earlier performance. It is sufficient here to 
remark that the author, even then a man of great erudition, must have 
been aware of the turn which taxonomy was taking ; but, not being 
able to divest himself of the older notion that external characters were 
superior to those furnished by the study of internal structure, and that 
Comparative Anatomy, instead of being a part of Zoology, was some- 
thing distinct from it, he seems to have endeavoured to form a scheme 
which, while not running wholly counter to the teachings of Com- 
parative Anatomists, should yet rest ostensibly on external characters. 
With this view he studied the latter most laboriously, and certainly not 
without success, for he brought into prominence several points that had 
hitherto escaped the notice of his predecessors. He also admitted among 
his characteristics a physiological consideration (apparently derived from 
Oken ^) dividing the class Aves into two sections AUrices and Prsecoces, 
according as the young were fed by their parents, or, from the first, fed 
themselves. P>ut at this time he was encumbered with the hazy 
doctrine of analogies, which, if it did not act to his detriment, was 
assuredly of no service to him. He prefixed an ' Idea Systematis ' to 
his ' Expositio ' ; and the former, which appears to represent his real 
opinion, difl:ers in arrangement very considerably from the latter. Like 
Gloger, Sundevall in his ideal system separated the true Passerines from 
all other Birds, calling them Volucres ; but he took a step further, for 
he assigned to them the highest rank, wherein nearly every recent 

^ He says from Oken's Naturgeschichte fur Schulen, pulolished in 1821, but the 
division is to be found in that author's earlier Lehrbuch der Zoologie (ii. p. 371), 
which appeared in 1816. 


authority agrees with him ; out of them, however, he chose the Thrushes 
and Warblers to stand first as his ideal " Centrum " — a selection which, 
though in the opinion of the present writer erroneous, is still widely 

The points at issue between Cuvier and Etienne Geoffroy St- 
Hilaire before mentioned naturally attracted the attention of L'Her- 
minier, who in 1836 presented to the French Academy the results of 
his researches into the mode of growth of that bone which in the adult 
Bird he had already studied to such good purpose. Unfortunately the 
full account of his diligent investigations was never published. We can 
only judge of his labours from an abstract {Comjytes Benchis, iii. pp. 12-20, 
and Ann. Sci. Nat. ser. 2, vi. pp. 107-115), and from the report upon them 
by Isidore Geoffroy St.-Hilaire {Gom]3tes Bendus, iv. pp. 565-574), to 
whom with others they were referred, and which is very critical in its 
character. It were useless to conjecture why the whole memoir never 
appeared, as the reporter recommended that it should ; but, whether, as 
he suggested, the author's observations failed to establish the theories he 
advanced or not, the loss of his observations in an extended form is 
greatly to be regretted, for no one seems to have continued the investi- 
gations he began and to some extent carried out ; while, from his resi- 
dence in Guadeloupe, he had peculiar advantages in studying certain 
types of Birds not generally available, his remarks on them could not 
fail to be valuable, quite irrespective of the interpretation he was led to 
put upon them. L'Herminier arrived at the conclusion that, so far 
from there being only two or three different modes by which the jDrocess 
of ossification in the sternum is carried out, the number of different 
modes is very considerable — almost each natural group of Birds having 
its own. The principal theory which he hence conceived himself 
justified in propounding was that instead of five being (as had been 
stated) the maximum number of centres of ossification in the sternum, 
there are no fewer than nine entering into the composition of the perfect 
sternum of Birds in general, though in every species some of these nine 
are wanting, whatever be the condition of development at the time of 
examination. These nine theoretical centres or "pieces" L'Herminier 
deemed to be disposed in three transverse ranks (range'es), namely the 
anterior or " prosternal," the middle or " mesosternal," and the posterior 
" metasternal " — each rank consisting of three portions, one median 
piece and two side-pieces. At the same time he seems, according to the 
abstract of his memoir, to have made the somewhat contradictory asser- 
tion that sometimes there are more than three pieces in each rank, and 
in certain groups of Birds as manj^ as six.^ 

1 We shall perhaps be justified in assiaming that this apparent inconsistency, and 
others which present themselves, would be explicable if the whole meraoh- with the 
necessary illustrations had been published. It would occupy more space than can 
here be allowed to give even the briefest abstract of the numerous observations which 
follow the statement of his theory and on which it professedly rests. They extend 
to more than a score of natural groups of Birds, and nearly each of them presents 
some peculiar characters. Thus of the first rank of pieces he saj's that when all 
exist they may be developed simultaneously, or that the two side-pieces may precede 
the median, or again that the median may precede the side-pieces — according to the 


Hitherto it will have been seen that our present business has lain 
wholly in Germany and France, for, as is elsewhere explained, the chief 
ornithologists of Britain were occup}dng themselves at this time in a 
very useless way — not but that there were several distinguished men in 
this country who were paying due heed at this time to the internal 
structure of Birds, and some excellent descriptive memoirs on special 
forms had appeared from their pens, to say nothing of more than one 
general treatise on ornithic anatomy.^ Yet no one in Britain seems to 
have attempted to found any scientific arrangement of Birds on other 
than external characters until, in 1837, William Macgillivray issued the 
first volume of his History of British Birds, wherein, though professing 
(p. 19) "not to add a new system to the many already in partial use, or 
that have passed away like their authors," he propounded (pp. 16-18) a 
scheme for classifying the Birds of Europe at least founded on a " con- 
sideration of the digestive organs, which merit special attention, on 
account, not so much of their great importance in the economy of birds, 
as the nervous, vascular and other systems are not behind them in this 
respect ; but because, exhibiting great diversity of form and structure, 
in accordance with the nature of the food, they are more obviously 
qualified to afford a basis for the classification of the numerous species 
of birds" (p. 52). Experience has again and again exposed the fallacy 
of this last conclusion, but it is no disparagement of its author to say, 

group of Birds, but that the second mode is much the commonest. The same 
variations are observable in the second or middle rank, but its side-pieces are said to 
exist in all groups of Birds without exceiDtion. As to the third or posterior rank, 
when it is complete the three constituent pieces are developed almost simul- 
taneously ; but its median piece is said often to originate in two, which soon uuite, 
especially when the side-pieces are wanting. By way of examples of L'Herminier's 
observations, what he says of the two groups that had been the subject of Cuvier's 
and the elder Geoffroy's contest may be mentioned. In the Gallinm the five well- 
known pieces or centres of ossification are said to consist of the two side-pieces of 
the second or middle rank, and the three of the posterior. On two occasions, how- 
ever, there was found in addition, what may be taken for a representation of the 
first series, a little "noyau" situated between the coracoids — forming the only 
instance of all three ranks being present in the same Bird. As regards the Ducks, 
L'Herminier agreed with Cuvier that there are commonly only two centres of 
ossification — the side-pieces of the middle rank ; but as these grow to meet one 
another a distinct median "noyau" also of the same rank, sometimes appears, which 
soon forms a connexion with each of them. In the Ostrich and its allies no trace 
of this median centre of ossification ever occurs ; but its existence seems to be 
invariable in all other Birds. 

^ Owen's celebrated article 'Aves,' in Todd's Cyclopsedia of Anatomy and 
Physiology (i. pp. 265-358), appeared in 1836, and, as giving a general view of the 
structure of Birds, needs no praise here ; but its object was not to establish a 
classification, or throw light especially on systematic arrangement. So far from 
that being the case, its distinguished author was content to adopt, as he tells us, the 
arrangement proposed by Kirby in the Seventh Bridgewater Treatise (ii. pp. 445- 
474), being that, it is true, of an estimable zoologist, but of one who had no special 
knowledge of Ornithology. Indeed it is, as the latter says, that of Linnaeus, 
improved by Cuvier, with an additional modification of Illiger's — all these tliree 
authors having totally ignored any but external characters. Yet it was regarded 
" as being the one which facilitates the expression of the leading anatomical differ- 
ences which obtain in the class of Birds, and which therefore may be considered as 
the most natural " ! 


that in this passage, as well as in others that might be quoted, he was 
greater as an anatomist than as a logician. He was indeed thoroughly 
grounded in anatomy, and though undoubtedly the digestive organs of 
Birds have a claim to the fullest consideration, yet Macgillivray himself 
subsequently became aware of the fact that there were several other parts 
of their structure as important from the point of view of classification. 
He it was, apparently, who first detected the essential difference of the 
organs of voice presented by some of the New-World Passeres (subsequently 
known as Clamatores), and the earliest intimation of this seems to be 
given in his anatomical description of the Arkansas Flycatcher, Tyrannus 
verticalis, which was published in 1838 {Ornithol. Biog. iv. p. 425), though 
it must be admitted that he did not — because he then could not- — perceive 
the bearing of their difference, which was reserved to be shewn by the 
investigation of a still greater anatomist, and of one who had fuller 
facilities for research, and thereby almost revolutionized, as will presently 
be mentioned, the views of systematists as to this Order of Birds. There 
is only space here to say that the second volume of Macgillivray's work 
was published in 1839, and the third in 1840; but it was not until 
1852 that the author, in broken health, found an opportunity of issuing 
the fourth and fifth. His scheme of classification, being as before stated 
partial, need not be given in detail. Its great merit is that it proved the 
necessity of combining another and hitherto much-neglected factor in any 
natural arrangement, though vitiated as so many other schemes have 
been by being based wholly on one class of characters.^ 

But a bolder attempt at classification was that made in 1838 by 
Blyth {Mag. Nat. Hist. New Ser. ii. pp. 256-268, 314-319, 351-361, 
420-426, 589-601 ; iii. pp. 76-84). It was limited, however, to what he 
called Insessores, being the group upon which that name had been conferred 
by Vigors {Trans. Linn. Soc. xiv. p. 405) in 1823, with the addition, more- 
over, of his Eajjtores, and it will be unnecessary to enter into particulars 
concerning it, though it is equally as remarkable for the. insight shewn 
by the author into the structure of Birds as for the breadth of his view, 
which comprehends almost every kind of character that had been at that time 
brought forward. It is plain that Blyth saw, and perhaps he was the 
first to see it, that Geographical Distribution was not unimportant in 
suggesting the aflfiuities and differences of natural groups (pp. 258, 259) ; 
and, undeterred by the precepts and practice of the hitherto dominant 
English school of Ornithologists, he declared that " anatomy, when aided 
by every character which the manner of propagation, the progressive 

1 This is not the place to dwell on Macgillivray's merits ; but I may perhaps be 
excused for repeating my opinion that, after Willughby, Macgillivray was the greatest 
and most original ornithological genius save one (who did not live long enough to 
make his powers Avidely known) that this island has produced. The exact amount of 
assistance he afforded to Audubon in his Ornithological Biography will probably never 
be ascertained ; but, setting aside " all the anatomical descriptions, as well as the 
sketches by which they are sometimes illustrated," that on the latter's own statement 
(ojj. cit. iv. Introduction, p. xxiii.) are the work of Macgillivray, no impartial reader 
can compare the style in which the History of British Birds is written with that of 
the Ornithological Biography without recognizing the similarity of the two. On this 
subject some remarks of Prof. Coues [B^dl. Nutt. Ornithol. Club, 18S0, p. 201) may 
well be consulted. 


changes and other physiological data supply, is the only sure basis of 
classification." He was quite aware of the taxonomic value of the vocal 
organs of some groups of Birds, presently to be especially mentioned, and 
he had himself ascertained the presence and absence of casca in a not 
inconsiderable number of groups, drawing thence very justifiable infer- 
ences. He knew at least the earlier investigations of L'Herminier, and, 
though the work of Nitzsch, even if he had ever heard of it, must (through 
ignorance of the language in which it was written) have been to him a 
sealed book, he had followed out and extended the hints already given by 
Temminck as to the differences which various groups of Birds display in 
their moult. With all this it is not surprising to find, though the fact 
has been generally overlooked, that Blyth's proposed arrangement in 
many points anticipated conclusions that were su.bsequently reached, and 
were then regarded as fresh discoveries. It is proper to add that at this 
time the greater part of his work was carried on in conjunction with Mr. 
Bartlett, the present Superintendent of the Zoological Society's Gardens, 
and that, without his assistance, Blyth's opportunities, slender as they 
were compared with those which others have enjoyed, must have been 
still smaller. Considering the extent of their materials, which was 
limited to the bodies of such animals as they could obtain from dealers 
and the several menageries that then existed in or near London, the 
progress made in what has since proved to be the right direction is very 
wonderful. It is obvious that both these investigators had the genius for 
recognizing and interpreting the value of characters ; but their labours do 
not seem to have met with much encouragement ; and a general arrange- 
ment of the Class laid by Blyth before the Zoological Society at this 
time ^ does not appear in its publications, possibly through his neglect to 
reduce his scheme to writing and deliver it within the prescribed period. 
But even if this were not the case, no one need be surprised at the result. 
The scheme could hardly fail to be a crude performance — a fact which 
nobody would know better than its author ; but it must have presented 
much that was objectionable to the opinions then generally prevalent. 
Its line to some extent may be partly made out — very clearlj'-, for the 
matter of that, so far as its details have been published in the series of 
papers to which reference has been given — and some traces of its features 
are probably preserved in his Catalogue of the specimens of Birds in the 
Museum of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, which, after several years of 
severe labour, made its appearance at Calcutta in 1849; but, from the 
time of his arrival in India, the onerous duties imposed upon Blyth, 
together with the want of sufficient books of reference, seem to have 
hindered him from seriously continuing his former researches, which, 
interrupted as they were, and born out of due time, had no appreciable 
eS'ect on the views of systematizers generally. 

Next must be noticed a series of short treatises communicated by 
Johann Friedrich Brandt, between the years 1836 and 1839, to the 
Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg, and published in its Memoires. 

^ All abstract is contained in the Minnte-book of the Scientific Meetings of the 
Zoological Society, 26th June and 10th July 1838. The Class was to contain fifteen 
Orders, but only three were dealt with in any detail. 



In the year last mentioned the greater part of these was separately issued 
under the title of Beitrcige zur Kenntniss der Naturgeschichte der Vogel. 
Herein the author first assigned anatomical reasons for rearranging the 
Order Anseres of Linnaeus, the Natatores of Illiger, who, so long before as 
1811, had proposed a new distribution of it into six Families, the defini- 
tions of which, as was his wont, he had drawn from external characters 
only. Brandt now retained very nearly the same arrangement as his 
predecessor ; but, notwithstanding that he could trust to the firmer 
foundation of internal framework, he took at least two retrograde steps. 
First he failed to see the great structural difterence between the Penguins 
(which Illiger had placed as a group, Impennes, of equal rank to his other 
Families) and the Auks, Divers and Grebes, Pygopodes — combining all of 
them to form a " Typus " (to use his term) Urinatores ; and secondly he 
admitted among the Natatores, though as a distinct " Typus " Podoidge, 
the genera Podoa (Finfoot), and Fulica (Coot), which are now 
known to be allied to the Eallidse. At the same time he corrected 
the error made by Illiger in associating the Phalaropes with 
these forms, rightly declaring their relationship to Tringa, a point of 
order which other systematists were long in admitting. On the whole 
Brandt's labours were of no small service in asserting the principle that 
consideration must be paid to osteology ; for owing to his position he was 
able to gain more attention to his views than some of his less favourably 
placed brethren had succeeded in doing. 

In the same year (1839) another slight advance was made in the 
classification of the true Passeres. Keyserling and Blasius briefly pointed 
out {Arch. f. Naturgesch. v. pp. 332-334) that, while all the other Birds 
provided with perfect song-muscles had the " planta " or hind part of the 
" tarsus " covered with two long and undivided horny plates, the Larks 
had this part divided by many transverse sutures, so as to be scutellated 
behind as well as in front ; just as is the case in many of the Passerines 
which have not the singing-apparatus, and also in the Hoopoe. The 
importance of this singular but superficial departure from the normal 
structure has been so needlessly exaggerated as a character that at the 
present time its value is apt to be unduly depreciated. In so large and 
so homogeneous a group as that of the true Passeres, a constant character 
of this kind is not to be despised as a practical mode of separating the 
Birds which possess it ; and, more than this, it would appear that the 
discovery thus announced was the immediate means of leading to a series 
of investigations of a much more important and lasting nature — those of 
Johannes Miiller to be presently mentioned. 

Again we must recur to that indefatigable and most original in- 
vestigator Nitzsch, who, having never intermitted his study of the 
particular subject of his first contribution to science, in 1833 brought out 
at Halle, where he was Professor of Zoology, an essay with the title 
Pterylograpihix Avium Pars prior. It seems that this was issued as much 
with the object of inviting assistance from others in view of future 
labours, since the materials at his disposal were scanty, as with that of 
making known the results to which his researches had already led him. 
Indeed he only communicated copies of this essay to a few friends, and 


examples of it are comparatively scarce. Moreover, he stated subsequently 
that he thereby hoped to excite other naturalists to share with him the 
investigations he was making on a subject which had hitherto escaped 
notice or had been wholly neglected, since he considered that he had 
proved the disposition of the feathered tracts in the plumage of Birds to 
ioe the means of furnishing characters for the discrimination of the various 
natural groups as significant and important as they were new and un- 
expected.^ There was no need for us here to quote this essay in its 
chronological place, since it dealt only with the generalities of the subject, 
and did not enter upon any systematic details. These the author reserved 
for a second treatise which he was destined never to complete. He kept 
on diligently collecting materials, and as he did so was constrained to 
modify some of the statements he had published. He consequently fell 
into a state of doubt, and before he could make up his mind on some 
questions which he deemed important he was overtaken by death.^ Then 
his papers were handed over to his friend and successor, Burmeister, 
afterwards and for many years of Buenos Aires, who, with much skill 
elaborated from them the excellent work known as Nitzsch's Pterylog^ripMe, 
Avhich was published at Halle in 1840. There can be no doubt that the 
editor's duty was discharged with the most conscientious scrupulosity ; 
but, from what has been just said, it is certain that there were important 
points on which Nitzsch was as yet undecided — some of them perhaps of 
which no trace appeared in his manuscripts, and therefore as in every 
case of works posthumously published, unless (as rarely happens) they 
have received their author's ^^ imprimatur," they cannot be implicitly 
trusted as the expression of his final views. It would consequently be 
unsafe to ascribe positively all that appears in this volume to the result of 
Nitzsch's mature consideration. Moreover, as Burmeister states in his 
preface, Nitzsch by no means regarded the natural sequence of groups 

^ It is still a prevalent belief that feathers grow almost uniformly over the whole 
surface of a Bird's body ; some indeed are longer and some are shorter, but that is 
about all the difference perceptible to most people. It is the easiest thing for any- 
body to satisfy himself that this, except in a few cases, is altogether an erroneous 
supposition (see Ptebtlosis). Before Nitzsch's time the only men who seem to have 
noticed this fact were the great John Hunter and the accurate Macartney. But the 
observations of the former on the subject were not given to the world until 1836, 
when Owen introduced them into his Catalogue of the Museum of the College of 
Surgeons in London (vol. iii. pt. ii. p. 811), and therein is no indication of the fact 
having a taxonomical bearing. The same may be said of Macartney's remarks, which, 
though subsequent in point of time, were published earlier, namely, in 1819 (Rees's 
Cyclopaedia, xiv. art. ' Feathers '). Ignorance of this simple fact has led astray 
many celebrated painters, among them Landseer, whose pictures of Birds nearly always 
shew an unnatural representation of the plumage that at once betrays itself to the 
trained eye, though of course it is not perceived by spectators generally, who regard 
only the correctness of attitude and force of expression, which in that artist's work 
commonly leave little to be desired. Every draughtsman of Birds to be successful 
should study as did Mr. Wolf, the plan on which their feathers are disposed. 

^ Though not relating exactly to our present theme, it woiild be improper to 
dismiss Nitzsch's name -without reference to his extraordinary labours in investigating 
the insect and other external parasites of Birds, a subject which as regards British 
species was subsequently elaborated by Denny in his MonograpMa Anoj>hiroru7n 
Britannim (1842) and in his list of the specimens of British ^iKojoZwra in the collection 
of the British Museum. 


as the highest problem of the systematist, but rather their correct limita- 
tion. Again the arrangement followed in the Pterylographie was of 
course based on pterylographical considerations, and we have its author's 
own word for it that he was persuaded that the limitation of natural 
groups could only be attained by the most assiduous research into the 
species of which they are composed from every point of view. The com- 
bination of these three facts will of itself explain some defects, or even 
retrogressions, observable in Isitzsch's later systematic work when com- 
pared with that which he had formerly done. On the other hand some 
manifest improvements are introduced, and the abundance of details into 
which he enters in his Pterylographie renders it far more instructive and 
valuable than the older performance. As an abstract of that has already 
been given, it may be sufficient here to point out the chief changes made 
in his newer arrangement. To begin with, the three great sections of 
Aerial, Terrestrial and Aquatic Birds are abolished. The "Accipitres" 
are divided into two groups, Diurnal and Nocturnal ; but the first of these 
divisions is separated into three sections : — (1) the Vultures of the New 
World, (2) those of the Old World and (3) the genus Falco of Linnajiis. 
The " Passerine," that is to say, the true Passeres, are split into eight 
Families, not wholly with judgment ; ^ but of their taxonomy more 
is to be said presently. Then a new Order "Picarise" is instituted 
for the reception of the Macrochires, Cuculinse, Picinse, Psittacinse, 
and Amphiholse, of his old arrangement, to which are added three ^ 
others — Caprimulginse, Todidee and Lipoglossee — the last consisting of the 
genera Biiceros, Upupa and Alcedo. The association of Alcedo ^vith the 
other two is no doubt a misplacement, but the alliance of Buceros to 
Upupa, already suggested by Gould and Blyth in 1838 ^ {Mag. Nat. Hist. 
ser. 2, ii. pp. 422 and 589), though at first sight unnatural, has been 
corroborated by many later systematizers ; and taken as a whole the 
establishment of the Picarise. was certainly a commendable proceeding. 
For the rest there is only one considerable change, and that forms the 
greatest blot on the whole scheme. Instead of the Ratitx of Merrem 
being recognized as before as a Subclass, they were now reduced to the 
rank of an Order under the name " Platysternx" and placed between the 
" GallinacBcX " and " Grallee" though it was admitted that in their pterylosis 
they differ from all other Birds, in ways that the author is at great pains 

^ A short essay by Nitzsch on the general striictiire of the Passerines, ■^STiitten, it is 
said, in 18-36, was published in 1862 (Zeitschr. Ges. Ncditrwissensch. xix. pp. 389- 
408). It is probably to this essay that Burmeister refers in the Ptenjlographie (p. 
102, note ; English translation, p. 72, note) as forming the basis of the article 
" Passerinae " which he contributed to Erseh and Gruber's Encyklopddie (sect. iii. 
bd. xiii. pp. 139-144), and published before the Pterylographie. 

- By the numbers prefixed it would look as if there should be/oM?- new members 
of this Order ; but that seems to be due rather to a slip of the pen or to a printer's 

'^ This association is one of the most remarkable in the whole series of Blyth's 
remarkable papers on classification in the volume cited above. He states that Gould 
suspected the alliance of these two forms " from external structure and habits alone ; " 
otherwise one might suppose that he had obtained an intimation to that effect on one 
of his Continental journeys. Blj-th " aiTived at the same conclusion, however, by a 
different train of investigation," and this is beyond doubt. 


to describe, in each of the four genera examined by him — Struthio, Rhea, 
Dromseus and Casuarius} It is significant that notwithstanding this he 
did not figure the pterylosis of any one of them, and the thought suggests 
itself that, though his editor assures us he had convinced himself that 
the group, must be here shoved in (eingescJiohen), the intrusion is rather 
due to the necessity which Nitzsch, in common with most men of his 
time (the Quinarians excepted), felt for deploying the whole series of 
Birds into line, in which case the proceeding may be defensible on the 
score of convenience. The extraordinary merits of this book, and the 
admirable fidelity to his principles which Burmeister shewed in the 
difficult task of editing it, were unfortunately overlooked for many years, 
and perhaps are not sufficiently recognized now. Even in Germany, the 
author's own country, there were few to notice seriously what is certainly 
one of the most remarkable works ever published on the science, much 
less to pursue the investigations that had been so laboriously begun. ^ 
Andreas Wagner, in his report on the progress of Ornithology (Arch. f. 
Naturgesch. vii. 2, pp. 60, 61), as might be expected from such a man as 
he was, placed the Ptenjlographie at the summit of those publications the 
appearance of which he had to record for the years 1839 and 1840, 
stating that for " Systematik " it was of the greatest importance. On the 
other hand Oken (/sis, 1842, pp. 391-394), though giving a summary of 
Nitzsch's results and classification, was more sparing of his praise, and 
prefaced his remarks by asserting that he could not refrain from laughter 
when he looked at the plates in Nitzsch's work, since they reminded him 
of the plucked fowls in a poulterer's shop — it might as well be urged as 
an objection to the plates in many an anatomical book that they called 
to mind a butcher's — and goes on to say that, as the author always had the 
luck to engage in researches of which nobody thought, so had he the luck 
to print them where nobody sought them. In Sweden Sundevall, with- 
out accepting Nitzsch's views, accorded them a far more appreciative 
greeting in his annual reports for 1840-42 (i. pp. 152-160) ; but of course 
in England and France ^ nothing was known of them beyond the scantiest 
notice, generally taken at second hand, in two or three publications.* 

^ He does not mention Apteryx, at that time so little known on the Continent. 

^ Some excuse is to be made for this neglect. Nitzsch had of course exhausted 
all the forms of Birds commonly to be obtained, and specimens of the less common 
forms were too valuable from the curator's or collector's point of view to be subjected 
to a treatment that might end in their destruction. Yet it is said, on good authority, 
that Nitzsch had the patience so to manipulate the skins of many rare species that 
he was able to ascertain the characters of their pterylosis by the inspection of their 
inside only, without in any way damaging them for the ordinary purpose of a 
museum. Nor is this surprising when we consider the marvellous skill of Continental 
and especially German taxidermists, many of whom have elevated their profession to 
a height of art inconceivable to most Englishmen, who are only acquainted with the 
miserable mockery of Nature which is the most sublime result of all but a few " bird- 

^ In 1836 Jacquemin communicated to the French Academy {Comptes Rendus, 
ii. pp. 374, 375 and 472) some observations on the order in which feathers are 
disposed on the body of Birds ; but, however general may have been the scope of his 
investigations, the portion of them published refers only to the Crow, and there is no 
mention made of Nitzsch's former work. 

* Thanks to Mr. Sclater, the Ray Society was induced to publish, in 1867. an 


The treatise of Kessler on the osteology of Birds' feet, published in the 
Bulletin of the Moscow Society of Naturalists for 1841, next claims a few 
words, though its scope is rather to shew differences than affinities ; but 
treatment of that kind is undoubtedly useful at times in indicating that 
alliances generally admitted are unnatural ; and this is the case here, for, 
following Cuvier's method, the author's researches prove the artificial 
character of some of its associations. While furnishing — almost uncon- 
sciously, however — additional evidence for overthrowing that classification, 
there is, nevertheless, no attempt made to construct a better one ; and the 
elaborate tables of dimensions, both absolute and proportional, suggestive 
as is the whole tendency of the author's observations, seem not to lead to 
any very practical result, though the systematist's need to look beneath 
the integument, even in parts that are so comparatively little hidden as 
Birds' feet, is once more made beyond all question apparent. 

It has already been mentioned that Macgillivray furnished Audubon 
with a series of descriptions of some parts of the anatomy of American 
Birds, from subjects supplied to him by that enthusiastic naturalist, 
whose zeal -and prescience, it may be called, in this respect merits all 
praise. Thus he (prompted very likely by Macgillivray) wrote : — " I 
believe the time to be approaching when much of the results obtained 
from the inspection of the exterior alone will be laid aside ; when 
museums filled with stuffed skins will be considered insufficient to aft'ord 
a knowledge of birds ; and when the student will go forth, not only to 
observe the habits and haunts of animals, but to preserve specimens of 
them to be carefully dissected" (Orn. Biogr. iv. Introduction, p. xxiv.) 
As has been stated, the first of this series of anatomical descriptions 
appeared in the fourth volume of his work, published in 1838, but 
they were continued until its completion with the fifth volume in the 
following year, and the whole was incorporated into what may be termed 
its second edition. The Birds of America, which appeared between 1840 
and 1844. Among the many species whose anatomy Macgillivray thus 
partly described from autopsy were at least half a dozen of those now 
referred to the Family Tyrant-birds, but then included, with many others, 
according to the vague and rudimentary notions of classification of the 
time, in what was termed the Family ^^ Mtcscicajyinse" In all these 
species he found the vocal organs to differ essentially in structure from 
those of other Birds of the Old World, which we now call Passerine, or, to 
be still more precise, Oscinine. But by him these last were most 
arbitrarily severed, dissociated from their allies, and wrongly combined 
with other forms by no means nearly related to them {Brit. Birds, i. pp. 
17, 18) which he also examined ; and he practically, though not literally,^ 

excellent translation by Dallas of Nitzsch's Pterylograiphy, and thereby, however tardily, 
justice was at length rendered by British ornithologists to one of theii' greatest foreign 
brethren. The Society had the good fortune to obtain the ten original copper-f)lates, 
all but one drawn by the author himself, wherewith the work was illustrated. It is 
only to be regretted that the quarto size in which it appeared was not retained, for 
the folio form of the English version puts a needless impediment iu the way of its 
common and convenient use. On the important subject of the pterylograpliy of Bu'ds' 
wings see the works cited under Remiqes (page 781, note). 

■^ Not literally, because a few other forms such as the genera Polio})tiIa and 


asserted the truth, -when he said that the general structure, but especially 
the muscular appendages, of the lower larynx was " similarly formed in 
all other birds of this family" described in Audubon's work. Mac- 
gillivray did not, however, assign to this essential difference any systematic 
value. Indeed he was so much prepossessed in favour of a classification 
based on the structure of the digestive organs that he could not bring 
himself to consider vocal muscles to be of much taxonomic use, and it 
was reserved to Johannes Miiller to point out that the contrary was the 
fact. This the great German comparative anatomist did in two com- 
munications to the Academy of Sciences of Berlin, one on the 26th June 
1845 and the other on the 14th May 1846, which, having been first 
briefly published in the Academy's Monatsbericht, were afterwards printed 
in full, and illustrated by numerous figures, in its Aihandlungen, though 
in this latter and complete form they did not appear in public until 
1 847.^ This very remarkable treatise forms the groundwork of almost 
all later or recent researches in the comparative anatomy and consequent 
arrangement of the Passeres, and, though it is certainly not free from 
imperfections, many of them, it must be said, arose from want of material, 
notwithstanding that its author had command of a much more abundant 
supply than was at the disposal of Nitzsch. Carrying on the work from 
the anatomical point at which he had left it, correcting his errors, and 
utilizing to the fullest extent the observations of Keyserling and Blasius, 
to which reference has already been made, Miiller, though hampered by 
mistaken notions of which he seems to have been unable to rid himself, 
propounded a scheme for the classification of this group, the general truth 
of which has been admitted by all his successors, based, as the title of his 
treatise expressed, on the hitherto unknown different types of the vocal 
organs in the Passerines. He freely recognized the prior discoveries of, 
as he thought, Audubon, though really, as has since been ascertained, of 
Macgillivray ; but Miiller was able to perceive their systematic value, 
which Macgillivray did not, and taught others to know it. At the same 
time Miiller shewed himself, his power of discrimination notwithstanding, 
to fall behind Nitzsch in one very crucial point, for he refused to the 
latter's PiCAKiiE the rank that had been claimed for them, and imagined 
that the groups associated under that name formed but a third " Tribe " 
— PiCARii — of a great Order Insessores, the others being (1) the Oscines 
or Polymyodi — the Singing Birds by emphasis, whose inferior larynx was 
endowed with the full number of five pairs of song-muscles, and (2) the 
Tracheophones, composed of some South-American Families. Looking on 
Miiller's labours as we now can, we see that such errors as he committed 
are chiefly due to his want of special knowledge of Ornithology, com- 
bined with the absence in several instances of sufficient materials for 
investigation. Nothing whatever is to be said against the composition of 

Ptilogonys, now known to have no relation to the Tyrannidw, were included, though 
these forms, it would seem, had never been dissected by him. On the other hand he 
declared that the American Eedstart, Muscicapa, or, as it now stands, Setophaga 
ruticilla, when young, has its vocal organs like the rest — a statement corrected by 
Miiller in a Nachtrag (p. 405) to his paper next to be mentioned. 

■•■ Also printed separately as Ueber die bisher unhekannten typischen Verschieden- 
heiten der Stimmorgane der Passerincn, 4to, Berlin : 1847. 


his first and second " Tribes " ; but the third is an assemblage still more 
heterogeneous than that which Nitzsch brought together under a name so 
like that of Miiller — for the fact must never be allowed to go out of 
sight that the extent of the Picarii of the latter is not at all that of the 
Picarise of the former.^ For instance, Miiller places in his third " Tribe " 
the group which he called Ampelidse, meaning thereby the peculiar forms 
of South America that are now considered to be more properly named 
Cotingidse, (Chatterer), and herein he was clearly right, while Nitzsch, 
who, misled by their supposed affinity to the genus Ampelis (Waxwing) — 
peculiar to the Northern Hemisphere, and a purely Passerine form, had 
kept them among his Passerinse, was as clearly wrong. But again Miiller 
made his third " Tribe " Picarii also to contain the Tyrannidee, of which 
mention has just been made, though it is so obvious as now to be 
generally admitted that they have no very intimate relationship to the 
other Families with which they are there associated. There is no need here 
to criticize more minutely his projected arrangement, and it must be said 
that, notwithstanding his researches, he seems to have had some mis- 
givings that, after all, the separation of the Insessores into those " Tribes " 
might not he justifiable. At any rate he wavered in his estimate of their 
taxonomic value, for he gave an alternative proposal, arranging all the 
genera in a single series, a proceeding in those days thought not only 
defensible and possible, but desirable or even requisite, though now 
utterly abandoned. Just as Nitzsch had laboured under the disadvantage 
of never having any example of the abnormal Passeres of the New World 
to dissect, and therefore was wholly ignorant of their abnormality, so 
Miiller never succeeded in getting hold of an example of the genus Pitta 
for the same purpose, and yet, acting on the clew furnished by Keyserling 
and Blasius, he did not hesitate to predict that it would be found to fill 
one of the gaps he had to leave, and this to some extent it has been since 
proved to do. The result of all this is that the Oscines or true Passeres 
are found to be a group in which the vocal organs not only attain the 
greatest perfection, but are nearly if not quite as uniform in their structure 
as in the sternal apparatus ; while at the same time each set of characters 
is wholly unlike that which exists in any other group of Birds, as is set 
forth in Dr. Gadow's article Syrinx in the text. 

It must not be supposed that the muscles just defined were first dis- 
covered by Miiller ; on the contrary they had been described long before, 
and by many Avriters on the anatomy of Birds. To say nothing of 
foreigners, or the authors of general works on the subject, an excellent 
account of them had been given by Yarrell in 1829 {Tram. Linn. Soc. 
xvi. pp. 305-321, pis. 17, 18), an abstract of which was subsequently 
given in the article "Raven" in his History of British Birds, and Mac- 
gillivray also described and figured them with the greatest accuracy ten 
years later in his work with the same title (ii. pp. 21-3Y, pis. x.-xii.), 
while Blyth and Nitzsch had (as already mentioned) seen some of their 
value in classification. But Miiller has the merit of clearly outstriding 
his predecessors, and with his accustomed perspicacity made the way even 

^ It is not needless to point out this fine distinction, for more than one modern 
author would seem to have overlooked it. 


plainer for his successors to see than he himself was able to see it. What 
remains to add is that the celebrity of its author actually procured for 
the first portion of his researches notice in England {Ann. Nat. Hist. xvii. 
p. 499), though it must be confessed not then to any practical purpose.^ 

It is now necessary to revert to the year 1842, in which Dr. Cornay 
of Rochefort communicated to the French Academy of Sciences a memoir 
on a new Classification of Birds, of which, however, nothing but a notice 
has been preserved (Comptes Bendus, xiv. p. 164). T^vo years later this 
was followed by a second contribution from him on the same subject, and 
of this only an extract appeared in the official organ of the Academy {op. 
cit. xvi. pp. 94, 95), though an abstract was inserted in one scientific journal 
[V Institut, xii. p. 21), and its first portion in another {Journal des 
De'couvertes, i. p. 250). The Eevue Zoologique for 1847 (pp. 360-369) 
contained the whole, and enabled naturalists to consider the merits of the 
author's project, which was to found a new Classification of Birds on the 
form of the anterior palatal bones, which he declared to be subjected 
more evidently than any other to certain fixed laws. These laws, as for- 
mulated by him, are that (1) there is a coincidence of form of the anterior 
palatal bones and of the cranium in Birds of the same Order ; (2) there is a 
likeness between the anterior palatal bones in Birds of the same Order ; (3) 
there are relations of likeness between the anterior palatal bones in groups 
of Birds which are near to one another. These laws, he added, exist in 
regard to all parts that ofi'er characters fit for the methodical arrangement 
of Birds, but it is in regard to the anterior palatal bones that they un- 
questionably ofi^er the most evidence. In the evolution of these laws Dr. 
Cornay had most laudably studied, as his observations prove, a vast 
number of different types, and the upshot of his whole labours, though 
not very clearly stated, was such as wholly to subvert the classification at 
that time generally adopted by French ornithologists. He of course knew 
the investigations of L'Herminier and De Blainville on sternal formation, 
and he also seems to have been aware of some pterylological difi^erences 
exhibited in Birds — whether those disclosed by Nitzsch or those by Jacque- 
min is not stated. True it is the latter were never published in full, 
but it is conceivable that Dr. Cornay may have known their drift. Be 
that as it may, he declares that characters drawn from the sternum or the 
pelvis— hitherto deemed to be, next to the bones of the head, the most 
important portions of the bird's framework — are scarcely worth more, from 
a classificatory point of view, than characters drawn from the bill or the 
legs ; while pterylological considerations, together vdth many others to 
which some systematists had attached more or less importance, can only 
assist, and apparently must never be taken to control, the force of evi- 
dence furnished by this bone of all bones — the anterior palatal. 

^ More than 30 years after proper tribute was rendered to one who by his 
investigations had so materially advanced the study of Ornithology, since in 1878 
Mr. Sclater procured the publication at Oxford of an English version of this treatise 
under the title of .Johannes Miiller on Certctin Variations in the Vocal Organs of the 
Passeres that have hitherto escaped notice. It was translated by Prof. Jeffrey Bell, 
and Garrod added an appendix containing a summary of his own continuation of the 
same line of research. By some unaccountable accident, the date of the original com- 
munication to the Academy of Berlin is -wrongly printed. It is rightly given above. 


That Dr. Cornay was on the brink of making a discovery of consider- 
able merit will by and by appear ; but, with every disposition to regard 
his investigations favourably, it cannot be said that he accomplished it. 
No account need be taken of the criticism which denominated his attempt 
" unphilosophical and one-sided," nor does it signify that his proposals 
either attracted no attention or were generally received with indifference. 
Such is commonly the fate of any deep-seated reform of classification pro- 
posed by a comparatively unknown man, unless it happen to possess some 
extraordinarily taking qualities, or be explained with an abundance of 
pictorial illustration. This was not the case here. Whatever proofs Dr. 
Cornay may have had to satisfy himself of his being on the right track^ 
these proofs were not adduced in sufficient number nor arranged with 
sufficient skill to persuade a somewhat stiff-necked generation of the 
truth of his views — for it was a generation whose leaders, in France at 
any rate, looked with suspicion upon any one who professed to go beyond 
the bounds which the genius of Cuvier had been unable to overpass, and 
regarded the notion of upsetting any of the positions maintained by him 
as verging upon profanity. Moreover, Dr. Cornay's scheme was not given 
to the world with any of those adjuncts that not merely please the eye 
but are in many cases necessary, for, though on a subject which required 
for its proper comprehension a series of plates, it made even its final 
appearance unadorned by a single explanatory figure, and in a journal, 
respectable and well-known indeed, but one not of the highest scientific 
rank. Add to all this that its author, in his summary of the practical 
results of his investigations, committed a grave sin in the eyes of rigid 
systematists by ostentatiously arranging the names of the forty types 
which he selected to prove his case wholly without order, and without 
any intimation of the greater or less affinity any one of them might bear 
to the rest. That success should attend a scheme so inconclusively 
elaborated could not be expected. 

The same year which saw the promulgation of the crude scheme just 
described, as well as the publication of the final researches of Miiller, 
witnessed also another attempt at the classification of Birds, much more 
limited indeed in scope, but, so far as it went, regarded by most orni- 
thologists of the time as almost final in its operation. Under the vague 
title of ' Ornithologische Notizen ' Prof. Cabanis of Berlin contributed to 
the Archiv fur Naturgeschichte (xiii. 1, pp. 186-256, 308-352) an essay in 
two parts, wherein, following the researches of Miiller^ on the syrinx, in 
the course of which a correlation had been shewn to exist between the 
whole or divided condition of the flanta or hind part of the " tarsus " 
(first noticed, as has been said, by Keyserling and Blasius) and the presence 
or absence of the perfect song-apparatus, the younger author found an 
agreement which seemed almost invariable in this respect, and he also 
pointed out that the flanta of the different groups of Birds in which it 
is divided, is divided in different modes, the mode of division being 
generally characteristic of the group. Such a coincidence of the internal 

■^ On the other hand, Miiller makes several references to the labours of Prof, 
Cabanis. The investigations of both authors must have been proceeding simultan- 
eously, and it matters little which actually appeared first. 


and external features of Birds was naturally deemed a discovery of great 
value by those ornithologists who thought most highly of the latter, and 
it was unquestionably of no little practical utility. Further examination 
also revealed the fact^ that in certain groups the number of "primaries," 
or quill-feathers growing from the matnis of the wing, formed another 
characteristic easy of observation. In the Oscines or Polymyodi of Miiller 
the number was either nine or ten — and if the latter the outermost of 
them was generally very small. In two of the other groups of which 
Prof. Cabanis especially treated — groups which had been hitherto more or 
less confounded with the Oscines — the number of primaries was invari- 
ably ten, and the outermost of them was comparatively large. This 
observation was also hailed as the discovery of a fact of extraordinary 
importance ; and, from the results of these investigations taken altogether, 
Ornithology was declared by Sundevall, undoubtedly a man who had a 
right to speak with authority, to have made greater progress than had been 
achieved since the days of Cuvier. The final disposition of the " Sub- 
class Insessores" — all the perching birds, that is to say, which are neither 
Birds-of-Prey nor Pigeons — proposed by Prof. Cabanis, was into four 
" Orders," as follows : — 

1. Oscines, equal to Mliller's group of the same name. 

2. Clamatores, being a majority of that division of the Picariee of 
Nitzsch, so called by Andreas Wagner, in 1841,^ which have their feet 
normally constructed. 

3. Strisores, a group now separated from the Clamatores of Wagner, 
and containing those forms which have their feet abnormally constructed ; 

4. Scansores, being the Grimpeurs of Cuvier, the Zygodactyli of several 
other systematists. 

The first of these four " Orders " had been already indefeasibly estab- 
lished as one perfectly natural, but respecting its details more must pre- 
sently be said. The remaining three are now seen to be artificial associa- 
tions, and the second of them, Clamatores, in particular, containing a very 
heterogeneous assemblage of forms ; but it must be borne in mind that 
the internal structure of some of them was at that time still more imper- 
fectly known than now. Yet even then, enough had been ascertained to 
have saved what are now recognized as the Families Todidse and Tyran- 
nidse from being placed as " Subfamilies" in the same " Family Golopteridse" ; 
and several other instances of unharmonious combination in this " Order " 
might be adduced were it worth while to particularize them. More than 
that, it would not be difficult to shew, only the present is not exactly the 

^ This seems to have been made kno^vn by Prof. Cabanis the preceding year to 
the ' Gesellschaft der Naturforschender Freunde ' {cf. Miiller, StimmorgoMe der Pas- 
serinen, p. 65). Of course the variation to which the number of primaries was 
subject had not escaped the observation of Nitzsch, but he had scarcely used it as a 
classificatory character. 

^ Archiv fur Naturgeschichte, vii. 2, pp. 93, 94. The division seems to have 
been instituted by this author a couple of years earlier in the second edition of his 
Handbuch der Natiirgeschichte (which I have not seen), but not then to have received 
a scientific name. It included all Picarise which had not " zygodactylous " feet, that 
is to say, toes placed in pairs, two before and two behind. 


place for it, that some groups or Families wliicli in reality are not far 
distant from one another are distributed, owing to the dissimilarity of 
their external characters, throughout these three Orders. 

But to return to the Oscines, the arrangement of which in the 
classification now under notice has been deemed its greatest merit, and 
consequently has been very generally followed. That by virtue of the 
perfection of their vocal organs, and certain other properties — though 
some of these last have perhaps never yet been made clear enough — they 
should stand at the head of the whole Class, may be freely admitted, but 
the respective rank assigned to the various component Families of the 
group is certainly open to question, and to the present writer seems, in 
the methods of several systematists, to be based upon a fallacy. This 
respective rank of the different Families appears to have been assigned on 
the principle that, since by reason of one character (namely, the more 
complicated structure of their syrinx) the Oscines form a higher group 
than the Claviatores, therefore all the concomitant features which the 
former possess and the latter do not must be equally indicative of 
superiority. Now one of the features in which most of the Oscines differ 
from the lower " Order " is the having a more or less undivided 2:)lanta, 
and accordingly it has been assumed that the Family of Oscines in which 
this modification of the planta is carried to its extreme point must be the 
highest point of that " Order." Since, therefore, this extreme modification 
of the flanta is exhibited by the Thrushes and their allies, it is alleged 
that they must be placed first, and indeed at the head of all Birds. The 
groundlessness of this reasoning ought to be apparent to everybody. In 
the present state of anatomy at any rate, it is impossible to prove that 
there is more than a coincidence in the facts just stated, and in the 
association of two characters — one deeply seated and affecting the whole 
life of the Bird, the other superficially, and so far as we can perceive 
without effect upon its organism. Because the Glamatores, having no 
song-muscles, have a divided planta, it cannot be logical to assume that 
among the Oscines, which possess song-muscles, such of them as have an 
undivided ^danta must be higher than those that have it divided. The 
argument, if it can be called an argument, is hardly one of analogy ; and 
yet no stronger ground has been occupied by those who invest the 
Thrushes, as do the majority of modern systematists, with the most 
dignified position in the whole Class. But passing from general to j)ar- 
ticular considerations, so soon as a practical application of the principle 
is made its inefficacy is manifest. The test of perfection of the vocal 
organs must be the perfection of the notes they enable their possessor to 
utter. There cannot be a question that, sing admirably as do some of 
the Birds included among the Thrushes,^ the Larks, as a Family, infinitely 
surpass them. Yet the Larks form the very group which, as elsewliere 

^ Prof. C'abauis would have strengthened his position had he included in the same 
Family with the Thrushes, which he called BJiacnemidas, the Inrds commonly known 
as Warblers, Si/lviidse, which the more advanced of recent systematists are inclined 
with much reason to unite with the Thrushes, Turdidas ; but instead of that he, 
trusting to the plantar character, segix'gated the Warblers, including of course the 
Nightingale, and did not even allow them the second place in his method, putting 


shewn (Lark, page 511), have the flanta more divided than any other 
among the Oscines. It seems hardly possible to adduce anything that 
would more conclusively demonstrate the independent nature of each of 
these characters — the complicated structure of the syrinx and the asserted 
inferior formation of the ijlanta — which are in the Alaiididse. associated.^ 
Moreover, this same Family affords a very valid protest against the ex- 
treme value attached to the presence or absence of the outermost quill- 
feather of the wings, and in this work it is also shewn (loc. cit.) that 
almost every stage of magnitude in this feather is exhibited by the Larks 
from its almost abortive condition in Alauda to its very considerable 
development in Mirafra. Indeed there are many genera of Oscines in 
which the proportion that the outermost "primary" bears to the rest is 
at best but a specific character, and certain excej)tions are allowed by 
Prof Cabanis (p. 313) to exist.- Some of them it is now easy to explain, 
inasmuch as in a few cases the apparently aberrant genera have elsewhere 
found a more natural position, a contingency to which he himself was 
fully awake.2 But as a rule the allocation and ranking of the different 
Families of Oscines by this author must be deemed arbitrary. Yet the 
value of his Ornitliologische Notizen is great, not only as evidence of his 
extensive acquaintance with different forms, which is proclaimed in every 
page, but in leading to a far fuller appreciation of characters that certainly 
should on no account be neglected, though too much importance may 
easily be, and already has been, assigned to them.* 

This will perhaps be the most convenient place to mention another 
kind of classification of Birds, which, based on a principle wholly difterent 
from those that have just been explained, requires a few words, though it 
has not been productive, nor is it likely, from all that appears, to be pro- 
ductive of any great effect. So long ago as 1831, Bonaparte, in his 
Saggio di una distrihuzione metodica degli Animali Vertebrati, published at 
Rome, and in 1837 communicated to the Linnean Society of London, 
'A new Systematic Arrangement of Vertebrated Animals,' which was 
subsequently printed in that Society's Transactions (xviii. pp. 247-304), 
though before it appeared there was issued at Bologna, under the title of 
Syno2ms Vertebratoruvi Systematis, a Latin translation of it. Herein he 

them below the Family called by him Sylvicolidas, consisting chiefly of the American 
forms now known as Mniotiltidas, none of which as songsters approach those of the 
Old World. 

^ It must be observed that Prof. Cabanis does not place the Alaudidse, lowest of 
the seventeen Families of which he makes the ^Oscines to be composed. They stand 
eleventh in order, while the Corvidse are last — a matter on which something may be 
said in the sequel. 

^ The American Family Vireonidw (Vikeo) presents some notable examples, though 
there it is stated that the tenth primary is always present, but often concealed by the 
ninth {cf. Coues, Key JV. Am. Birds, ed. 2, p. 331). 

■* By a ciirious error, probably of the press, the number of primaries assigned to 
the Paradiseidm and Corvidse is wrong (pp. 334, 335). In each case 10 should be 
substituted for 19 and 14. 

* A more extensive and detailed application of his method was begun by Prof. 
Cabanis in the Museum Heineanum, a useful catalogue of specimens in the collection 
of the late Oberamtmann Heine, of which the first part appeared at Halberstadt in 
1850, and the last, the work being still unfinished, in 1863. A Nomendator of the 
same collection was printed at Berlin 1882-90 by its owner's son and Dr. Eeichenow. 


divided the Class Aves into two Subclasses, to which he applied the names 
of Insessores and Grallatores (hitherto used by their inventors Vigors and 
IlLiger in a different sense), in the latter work relying chiefly for this 
division on characters which had not before been used by any systematist, 
namely, that in the former group Monogamy generally prevailed and the 
helpless nestlings were fed by their parents, while the latter group were 
mostly Polygamous, and the chicks at birth were active and capable of 
feeding themselves. This method, which in process of time was dignified 
by the title of a Physiological Arrangement, was insisted upon with more 
or less pertinacity by the author throughout a long series of publications, 
some of them separate books, some of them contributed to the memoirs 
issued by many scientific bodies of various European countries, ceasing only 
at his death, which in July 1857 found him occupied upon the unfinished 
Conspectus Generum Avium before mentioned. In the course of this series, 
however, he saw fit to alter the name of his two Subclasses, since those 
which he at first adopted were open to a variety of meanings, and in a 
communication to the French Academy of Sciences in 1853 {Gomptes 
Reiidus, xxxvii. pp. 641-647) the denomination Insessores was changed to 
Altnces, and Grallatores to Praecoces — the terms now preferred by him 
being taken from Sundevall's treatise of 1835 already mentioned. The 
views of Bonaparte were, it appears, also shared by an ornithological 
amateur of some distinction, Hogg, who propounded a scheme which, as 
he subsequently stated {Zool. 1850, p. 2797), was founded strictly in 
accordance with them ; but it would seem that, allowing his convictions 
to be warped by other considerations, he abandoned the original 
"physiological" basis of his system, so that this, when published in 1846 
(EcUnb. N. Philos. Journ. xli. pp. 50-71) was found to be established on a 
single character of the feet only, whereon he defined his Subclasses Gon- 
stridiixdes and Inconstrictipedes. The numerous errors made in his asser- 
tion hardly need pointing out. Yet the idea of a " physiological " arrange- 
ment on the same kind of principle found another follower, or, as he thought, 
inventor, in Newman, who published {Proc. Zool. Soc. 1850, pp. 46-48, 
and Zool. pp. 2780-2782) a plan based on exactly the same considerations, 
dividing Birds into two groups, " Hesthogenous " — a word so vicious in 
formation as to be incapable of amendment, but intended to signify those 
that were hatched -with a clothing of down — and " Gj^mnogenous," or 
those that were hatched naked. These three systems are essentially 
identical ; but, plausible as they may be at the first aspect, they have 
been found to be practically useless, though such of their characters as their 
upholders have advanced with truth deserve attention, and, as will be seen 
in the present work. Dr. Gadow's terms Nidicolee and Nidifugie, used in no 
systematic sense, express with greater accuracy what is needed. Physiology 
may one day very likely assist the systematist ; but it must be real 
jihysiology and not a sham. 

In 1856 Prof. Gervais, who had already contributed to the Zoologie 
of M. de Castelnau's Expedition dans les parties centrales de VAme'rique dii 
Hud some important memoirs describing the anatomy of the Hoactzin 
(page 421) and certain other Birds of doubtful or anomalous i^osition, 
published some remarks on the characters which could be drawn from the 


sternum of Birds {Ann. Sc. Nat. Zoologie, ser. 4, vi. pp. 5-15). The con- 
siderations are not very striking from a general point of view ; but the 
author adds to the weight of evidence which some of his predecessors had 
brought to bear on certain matters, particularly in aiding to abolish the 
artificial groups " Deodactyls," " Syndactyls " and " Zygodactyls," on 
which so much reliance had been placed by many of his countrymen ; 
and it is with him a great merit that he was the first apparently to 
recognize publicly that characters drawn from the posterior part 
of the sternum, and particularly from the " echancrures," commonly 
called in English " notches " or " emarginations," are of comparatively 
little importance, since their number is apt to vary in forms that 
are most closely allied, and even in species that are usually associated 
in the same genus or unquestionably belong to the same Family,^ while 
these " notches," sometimes become simple foramina, as in certain Pigeons, 
or on the other hand foramina may exceptionally change to "notches," 
and not unfrequently disappear wholly. Among his chief systematic 
determinations we may mention that he refers the Tinamous to the Rails, 
because apparently of their deep " notches," but otherwise takes a view of 
that group more correct according to modern notions than did most of his 
contemporaries. The Bustards he would place with the "Limicoles," as 
also Dromas (Crab-Plover) and Chionis, (Sheathbill). Phaethon (Teopic- 
bird) he would place with the " Larides " and not with the " Pelecanides," 
which it only resembles in its feet having all the toes connected by a web. 
Finally Divers, Auks and Penguins, according to him, form the last term 
in the series, and it seems fit to him that they should be regarded as form- 
ing a separate Order. It is a curious fact that even at a date so late as 
this, and by an investigator so well informed, doubt should still have 
existed whether Apteryx should be referred to the group containing the 
Cassowary and the Ostrich. On the whole the remarks of this esteemed 
author do not go much beyond such as might occur to any one who had 
made a study of a good series of specimens ; but many of them are 
published for the first time, and the author is careful to insist on the 
necessity of not resting solely on sternal characters, but associating with 
them those drawn from other parts of the body. 

Three years later in the same journal (xi. pp. 11-145, pis. 2-4) M. 
Blanchard published some Eecherches sur les caraderes osteologiques cles 
Oiseaux applique'es a la Classification naturelle de ces animaux, strongly 
urging the superiority of such characters over those drawn from the bill or 
feet, which, he remarks, though they may have sometimes given correct 
notions, have mostly led to mistakes, and, if observations of habits and 
food have sometimes afl:orded happy results, they have often been decep- 
tive ; so that, should more be wanted than to draw up a mere inventory 
of creation or trace the distinctive outline of each species, zoology without 
anatomy would remain a barren study. At the same time he states that 
authors who have occupied themselves with the sternum alone have often 

^ Thus he cites the cases of Machetes pugnax and Scolopax rustinda among the 
"Limicoles," and Larus cataractes among the "Larides," as differing from their 
nearest allies by the possession of only one " notch " on either side of the keel {cf. 
suprd, page 49). 


produced uncertain results, especially when they have neglected its 
anterior for its posterior part ; for in truth every bone of the skeleton 
ought to be studied in all its details. Yet this distinguished zoologist 
selects the sternum as furnishing the key to his primary groups or 
" Orders " of the Class, adopting, as Merrem had done long before, the 
same two divisions Garmatas and Ratitse, naming, however, the former 
Tropidosternii and the latter Homalosternii?- Some unkind fate has 
hitherto hindered him from making known to the world the rest of his 
researches in regard to the other bones of the skeleton till he reached the 
head, and in the memoir cited he treats of the sternum of only a portion 
of his iirst " Order." This is the more to be regretted by all ornithologists 
since he intended to conclude with what to them would have been a very 
great boon — the shewing in what way external characters coincided with 
those presented by Osteology. It was also within the scope of his plan 
to have continued on a more extended scale the researches on ossification 
begun by L'Herminier, and thus M. Blanchard's investigations, if com- 
pleted, would obviously have taken extraordinarily high rank among the 
highest contributions to ornithology. As it is, the 32 pages we have of 
them are of considerable importance ; for, in this unfortunately unfinished 
memoir, he describes in some detail the several differences which the 
sternum in a great many different groups of his Tropidosternii presents, 
and to some extent makes a methodical disposition of them accordingly. 
Thus he separates the Birds-of-Prey into three great groups — (1) the 
ordinary Diurnal forms, including the Falconidse and Vulturidee of the 
systematist of his time, but distinguishing the American Vultures from 
those of the Old World ; (2) Gypogeranus (Secretary-bird) ; and (3) the 
Owls. Next he places the Parrots, and then the vast assemblage of 
" Passereaux " — which he declares to be all of one type, even genera like 
Pipra (Manakin) and Pitta — and concludes with the somewhat hetero- 
geneous conglomeration of forms, beginning with Gypselus (Swift), that 
so many systematists have been accustomed to call Picarige, though to 
them as a group he assigns no name.^ 

Important as are the characters afforded by the sternum, that bone 
even with the whole sternal apparatus should obviously not be considered 
alone. To aid ornithologists in their studies in this respect, Eyton, who 
for many years had been forming a collection of Bird's skeletons, began 
the publication of a series of plates representing them. The first part of 
this work, Osteologia Avium., appeared early in 1859, and a volume was 
completed in 1867. A supplement was issued in 1869, and a Second 
Supplement, in three parts, between 1873 and 1875. The whole work 
contains a great number of figures of Birds' skeletons and detached bones ; 
but they are not so drawn as to be of much practical use, and the 

1 These terms were explained in liis great work L' Organisation dii Reiyne Anima!, 
Oiseaux (p. 16), begun in. 1855, and unhappily unfinished, to mean exactly the same 
as those applied by Merrem to his two primary divisions. 

- M. Blanchard's animadversions on the employment of external characters, and 
on trusting to observations on the habits of Birds, called iorth a rejoinder from Mr. 
Wallace {Ibis, 1864, pp. 36-41), who successfully shewed that they are not altogether 
to be despised. 


accompanying letterpress is too brief to be satisfactory. A somewhat 
similar work, Alhildungen von Vogel-Skeletten, was begun in 1879 by Dr. 
A. B. Merer, and is still in progress, 210 plates of Birds' skeletons having 
already appeared. Some of these are excellent, but photography, by 
means of which they are all represented, is an unintelligent art, and as 
the sun shines alike on the evil and the good, so minor characters are as 
faithfully portrayed as those which are of importance, and indeed the 
latter are often, from the nature of the case, obscure or even indistinguish- 
able. Yet we may be sure that every possible care was taken to avoid 
the disappointment thus caused.^ 

That the eggs laid by Birds should offer to some extent characters of 
utility to systematists is only to be expected, when it is considered that 
those from the same nest generally bear an extraordinary family-likeness 
to one another, and also that in certain groups the essential peculiarities 
of the egg-shell are constantly and distinctively characteristic. Thus no 
one who has ever examined the egg of a Duck or of a Tinamou would 
ever be in danger of not referring another Tinamou's egg or another 
Duck's that he might see to its proper Family, and so on with many 
others. Yet, as is stated in the text (p. 182), the expectation held 
out to oologists, and by them, of the benefits to be conferred upon 
Systematic Ornithology from the study of Birds' eggs, so far from being 
fulfilled, has not unfrequently led to disappointment. But at the same 
time many of the shortcomings of Oology in this respect must be set down 
to the defective information and observation of its votaries, among whom 
some have been very lax, not to say incautious, in not ascertaining on due 
evidence the parentage of their specimens, and the author next to be 
named is open to this charge. After several minor notices that appeared 
in journals at various times, Des Murs in 1860 brought out at Paris his 
ambitious Traite general d'Oologie Ornithologique au point de vue de la 
Classification, elsewhere mentioned (Eggs, page 191, note), which contains 
(pp. 529-538) a 'Systema Oologicum' as the final result of his labours. 
In this scheme Birds are arranged according to what the author considered 
to be their natural method and sequence ; but the result exhibits some 
unions as ill-assorted as can well be met with in the whole range of 
tentative arrangements of the Class, together with some very unjustifiable 
divorces. This being the case, it would seem useless to take up further 
space by analysing the several proposed modifications of Cuvier's arrange- 
ment which the author takes as his basis. The great merit of the work 
is that the author shews the necessity of taking Oology into account when 
investigating the classification of Birds, but it also proves that in so doing 
the paramount consideration lies in the thorough sifting of evidence as 
to the parentage of the eggs which are to serve as the building stones of 
the fabric to be erected {Ihis, 1860, pp. 331-335). The attempt of Des 
Murs was praiseworthy ; but in efli'ect it has utterly failed, notwithstand- 

■• A countless number of osteologieal papers have appeared in journals, and to 
name them would here be impossible. The more important have generally been 
mentioned in the body of this work in connexion with the species or group of species 
they illustrate ; but many that are good are necessarily passed over. 



ing the encomiums passed upon it by friendly critics {Rev. de Zoologie, 
1860, pp. 176-183, 313-325, 370-373).i 

Until about this time systematists, almost without exception, may be 
said to have been wandering with no definite purpose. At least their purpose 
was indefinite compared with that which they now have before them. 
No doubt they all agreed in saying that they were prosecuting a search 
for what they called the True System of Nature ; but that was nearly 
the end of their agreement, for in what that True System consisted the 
opinions of scarcely any two would coincide, unless to own that it was 
some shadowy idea beyond the present power of mortals to reach or even 
comprehend. The Quinarians, who boldly asserted that they had fathomed 
the mystery of Creation, had been shewn to be no wiser than other men, 
if indeed they had not utterly befooled themselves ; for their theory at 
best could give no other explanation of things than that they were 
because they were. The conception of such a process as has now come to 
be called by the name of Evolution was certainly not novel ; but except 
to two men the way in which that process was or could be possible had 
not been revealed.^ Here there is no need to enter into details of the 
history ef Evolutionary theories ; but the annalist in every branch of 
Biology must record the eventful First of July 1858, when the now cele- 
brated views of Darwin and Mr. Wallace were first laid before the scientific 
world,^ and must also notice the appearance towards the end of the follow- 
ing year of the former's Origin of Sioecies, which has effected one of the 
greatest revolutions of thoiight in this or perhaps in any century. The 
majority of biologists who had schooled themselves on other principles 
were of course slow to embrace the new doctrine ; but their hesitation was 
only the natural consequence of the caution which their scientific train- 
ing enjoined. A few there were who felt as though scales had suddenly 
dropped from their eyes, when greeted by the idea conveyed in the now 
familiar phrase " Natural Selection " ; but even those who had hitherto 
believed, and still continued to believe, in the sanctity of " Species " at 
once perceived that their life -long study had undergone a change, that 
their old position was seriously threatened by a perilous siege, and that to 
make it good they must find new means of defence. Many bravely 
maintained their posts, and for them not a word of blame ought to be 
expressed. Some few pretended, though the contrary was notorious, that 
they had always been on the side of the new philosophy, so far as they 
allowed it to be philosophy at all, and for them hardly a word of blame is 
too severe. Others after due deliberation, as became men who honestly 
desired the truth and nothing but the truth, yielded wholly or almost 
wholly to arguments which they gradually found to be irresistible. But, 

^ In this historical sketch of the progress of Ornithology it has not been thought 
necessary to mention other oological works, since they have not a taxonomic bearing, 
and the chief of them are named elsewhere (p. 188, note), but to them must be added 
Mr. Poynting's Eggs of British Birds (at ]iresent confined to the Limicolm), the figures 
of which are excellent, and Capt. Bendire's work mentioned above (page 37). 

2 Neither Lamarck nor Robert Chambers (the now acknowledged author of Vestiges 
of Creation), though thorough evolutionists, rationally indicated any means whereby, 
to use the ohl phrase, " the transmutation of species " could be eii'ected. 

^ Journal of the Proceedings of tlie Linncan Society, iii. Zoology, pp. 45-62. 


leaving generalities apart, and restricting ourselves to wliat is here our 
proper business, there was possibly no branch of Zoology in which so 
many of the best informed and consequently the most advanced of its workers 
sooner accepted the principles of Evolution than Ornithology, and of 
course the effect upon its study was very marked. New spirit was given 
to it. Ornithologists now felt they had something before them that was 
really worth investigating. Questions of Affinity, and the details of 
Geographical Distribution, were endowed with a real interest, in comparison 
with which any interest that had hitherto been taken was a trifling pastime. 
Classification assumed a wholly different aspect. It had up to this time 
been little more than the shuffling of cards, the ingenious arrangement of 
counters in a pretty pattern. Henceforward it was to be the serious study 
of the workings of Nature in producing the beings we see around us from 
beings more or less unlike them, that had existed in bygone ages and had 
been the parents of a varied and varying offspring — our fellow-creatures 
of to-day. Classification for the first time was something more than the 
expression of a fancy, not that it had not also its imaginative side. Men 
began to figure to themselves the original type of some well-marked genus 
or Family of Birds. They could even discern dimly some generalized 
stock whence had descended whole groups that now differed strangely in 
habits and appearance — their discernment aided, may be, by some isolated 
form which yet retained undeniable traces of a primitive structure. More 
dimly still visions of what the first Bird may have been like could be 
reasonably entertained ; and, passing even to a higher antiquity, the 
Eeptilian parent whence all Birds have sj^rung was brought within reach 
of man's consciousness. But relieved as it may be by reflexions of this 
kind — dreams some may perhaps still call them — the study of Ornithology 
has unquestionably become harder and more serious ; and a corresponding 
change in the style of investigation, followed in the works that remain to 
be considered, will be immediately perceptible. 

That this was the case is undeniably shewn by some remarks of Canon 
Tristram, who, in treating of the Alaudidx and Saxicolinee of Algeria 
(whence he had recently brought a large collection of specimens of his 
own making), stated (Ibis, 1859, pp. 429-433) that he could "not help 
feeling convinced of the truth of the views set forth by Messrs. Darwin 
and Wallace," adding that it was " hardly possible, I should think, to 
illustrate this theory better than by the Larks and Chats of North Africa." 
It is unnecessary to continue the quotation ; the few words just cited are 
enough to assure to their author the credit of being (so far as is known) 
the first ornithological specialist who had the courage publicly to 
recognize and receive the new and at the time unpopular philosophy.^ But 
greater work was at hand. In June 1860 the late Prof. W. K. Parker 
broke, as most will allow, entirely fresh ground, and ground that during 
his life he continued to till more deeply perhaps than any other man by 
communicating to the Zoological Society a memoir ' On the Osteology of 
Baleeniceps' {Sino-EBiijh), subsequently published in that Society's Transactions 
(iv. pp. 269-351). Of this contribution to science, as of all the rest which 

^ Whether Canon Tristram was anticipated in any other, and if so in what, branch 
of Zoology will be a pleasing enquiry for the historian of the future. 


have since proceeded from liim, may be said in the words he himself has 
applied (torn. cit. p. 271) to the work of another labourer in a not distant 
field : — " This is a model paper for unbiassed observation, and freedom from 
that pleasant mode of supjjosing instead of ascertaining what is the true nature 
of an anatomical element." ^ Indeed the study of this memoir, limited 
though it be in scope, could not fail to convince any one that it proceeded 
from the mind of one who taught with the authority derived directly from 
original knowledge, and not from association with the scribes — a convic- 
tion that has become strengthened as, in a series of successive memoirs, 
the stores of more than twenty years' silent observation and unremitting 
research were unfolded, and more than that, the hidden forces of the 
science of Morphology were gradually brought to bear upon almost each 
subject that came under discussion. These different memoirs, being 
technically monographs, have strictly no right to be mentioned in this 
place ; but there is scarcely one of them, if one indeed there be, that does 
not deal with the generalities of the study ; and the influence they have 
had upon contemporary investigation is so strong that it is impossible to 
refrain from noticing them here, though want of space forbids us from 
enlarging on their contents.^ Moreover, the doctrine of Descent with 
variation is preached in all — seldom, if ever, conspicuously, but perhaps, 
all the more effectively on that account. There is no reflective thinker 
but must perceive that Morphology is one of the lamps destined to throw 
light on the obscurity that still shrouds the genealogy of Birds as of other 
animals ; and, though as yet its illuminating power is admittedly far from 
what is desired, it has perhaps never shone more brightly than in Parker's 

^ It is fair to state that some of Parker's conclusions respecting Balwniceps were 
contested by J. T. Reinhardt {Overs. K. D. Vid. Selsk. Forhandliiiger, 1861, pp. 135- 
154 ; Ibis, 1862, pp. 158-175), and it seems to the present writer not ineffectually. 
Parker replied to Ms critic {Ibis, 1862, pp. 297-299). 

^ It may be convenient that a list of Parker's principal works which treat of 
ornithological subjects, in addition to the two above mentioned, should here be given. 
They are as follows : — In the Zoological Society's Transactions — On the Osteology 
of the Gallinaceous Birds and Tinamoas, v. pp. 149-241 ; On some Fossil Birds from 
the Zebbug Cave, vi. pp. 119-124 ; On the Osteology of the Kagu, vi. pp. 501-521 ; 
On the ^githognathous Birds, Pt. I. ix. pp. 289-352, Pt. II. x. pp. 251-314. In the 
Proceedings of the same Society — 1863, On the systematic position of the Crested 
Screamer, pp. 511-518 ; 1865, On the Osteology of Microglossa alecto, pp. 235-238. In 
the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society — 1865, On the Structure and 
Development of the Skull in the Ostrich Tribe, pp. 113-183 ; 1869, On the Structure 
and Development of the Skull of the Common Fowl, pp. 755-807 ; 1888, On the 
Structure and Development of the Wing of the Common Fowl, pp. 385-398. In the 
Linnean Society's Transactions — On the Morphology of the Skull in the Wood- 
peckers and Wrynecks, ser. 2, Zoology, i. pp. 1-22 ; On the Structure and Development 
of the Bird's Skull, torn. CTif. pp. 99-154 ; 1891, On the Morphology of the Gcdlinacex. 
In the Monthly Microscopical Journal for 1872, — On the Structure and Development 
of the Crow's Skull, pp. 217-226, 253 ; for 1873, On the Development of the Skull in 
the genus Tiurdus, pp. 102-107, and On the Development of the Skull in the Tit and 
Sparrow Hawk, parts i. and ii., pp. 6-11, 45-50. In the Gunningham Memoirs of the 
Royal Irish Academy, No. vi. (Dublin : 1890), On the Morphology of the Duck and 
Auk Tribes. There is beside the great work published by the Ray Society in 1868, 
A Monograph on the Structure and Development of the Shoidder-girdle and Sternum, 
of which pp. 142-191 treat of these parts in the Class Aves ; and the first portion of 
the article 'Birds' in tlie JUneycl. Brit. ed. 9, iii. pp. 699-728. Nearly each of this 
marvellous scries is copiously illustrated by figures from drawings made by the author. 


hands. The great fault of Ms series of memoirs, if it may be allowed the 
present writer to criticize them, is the indifference of their author to for- 
mulating his views, so as to enable the ordinary taxonomer to perceive 
how far he has got, if not to present him with a fair scheme. But this 
fault is possibly one of those that are "to merit near allied," since it 
would seem to spring from the author's hesitation to pass from observation 
to theory, for to theory at present belong, and must for some time belong, 
all attempts at Classification, Still it is not the less annoying and dis- 
appointing to the systematist to find that the man whose life-long 
application would have enabled him, better than any one else, to declare 
the effect of the alliances and differences shewn to exist among 
various members of the Class, should yet have been so reticent, or that 
when he spoke he should rather use the language of Morphology, which 
those who are not morphologists find difficult of correct interpretation, 
and wholly inadequate to allow of zoological deductions.^ 

For some time past rumours of a discovery of the highest interest had 
been agitating the minds of zoologists, for in 1861 Andreas Wagner had 
sent to the Academy of Sciences of Munich (Sitzungsber. pp. 146-154 ; 
Ann. Nat. Hist. ser. 3, ix. pp. 261-267) an account of what he conceived 
to be a feathered Eeptile (assigning to it the name Griphosaurus), the 
remains of which had been found in the lithographic beds of Solenhofen ; 
but he himself, through failing health, had been unable to see the fossil. 
In 1862 the slabs containing the remains were acquired by the British 
Museum, and towards the end of that year Owen communicated a detailed 
description of them to the Royal Society {Philos. Trans. 1863, pp. 33-47), 
proA'ing their Bird-like nature, and referring them to the genus Archseopteryx 
of Hermann von Meyer, hitherto known only by the impression of a 
single feather from the same geological beds. Wagner foresaw the use 
that would be made of this discovery by the adherents of the new 
Philosophy, and, in the usual language of its opponents at the time, 
strove to ward off the " misinterpretations " that they would put upon it. 
His protest, it is needless to say, was unavailing, and all who respect his 
memory must regret that the sunset of life failed to give him that insight 
into the future which is poetically ascribed to it. To Darwin and those 
who believed with him scarcely any discovery could have been more ^ 
welcome ; but that is beside our present business. It was quickly seen 
— even by those who held ArchxoiJteryx to be a Reptile^that it was a 
form intermediate between existing Birds and existing Reptiles — while 
those who were convinced by Owen's researches of its ornithic affinity saw 
that it must belong to a type of Birds wholly unknown before, and one 
that in any future arrangement of the Class must have a special rank 
reserved for it.^ It is elsewhere briefly described and figured in this 
work (Fossil Birds, pages 2 7 8-2 8 0).^ 

-^ As an instance, take the passages in whicli Turnix and Thinocorys are apparently 
referred [Trans. Zool. Soc. ix. pp. 291 et seqq. ; and Encycl. Brit. ed. 9, iii. p. 700) to 
the jEgithognathie, a view -which, as shewn by the author {Trans, x. p. 310), is not 
that really intended by him. 

" This was done in 1866 by Prof. Hackel, who {Ge7i. Morpliol. ii. pp. xi., cxxxis.- 
cxli.) proposed the name Saueidr^ for the group containing it. 

^ It behoves us to mention the ' Outlines of a Systematic Review of the Class of 


In the spring of the year 1867 the late Prof. Huxley, to the delight 
of an appreciative audience, delivered at the Royal College of Surgeons 
of England a course of lectures on Birds, and it is much to be regretted 
that his many engagements hindered him from publishing in its entirety 
his elucidation of the anatomy of the Class, and the results which he 
drew from his investigations of it ; for never assuredly had the subject 
been attacked with greater skill and power, or, since the days of Buflon, had 
Ornithology been set forth with greater eloquence. To remedy, in some 
degree, this unavoidable loss, and to preserve at least a portion of the 
fruits of his labours, Huxley, a few weeks after, presented an abstract of 
his researches to the Zoological Society, in whose Pj'oceedings for the same 
year it will be found printed (pp. 415-472) as a paper ' On the Classifica- 
tion of Birds, and on the taxonomic value of the modifications of certain 
of the cranial bones observable in that Class.' Starting from the basis 
(which, undeniably true as it is, not a little shocked many of his 
ornithological hearers) " that the phrase ' Birds are greatly modified 
Reptiles ' would hardly be an exaggerated expression of the closeness " 
of the resemblance between the two Classes, which he had previously 
brigaded- under the name of Sauropsida (as he had brigaded the Pisces and 
Amjjhibia as Ichthijo'psida), he drew in bold outline both their likenesses 
and their differences, and then proceeded to enquire how the Aves could 
be most appropriately subdivided into Orders, Suborders and Families. 
In this course of lectures he had already dwelt at some length on the 
insuificiency of the characters on which such groups as had hitherto been 
thought to be established were founded ; but for the consideration of this 
part of his subject there was no room in the present paper, and the reasons 
why he arrived at the conclusion that new means of philosophically and 
successfully separating the class must be sought were herein left to be in- 
ferred. The upshot, however, admits of no uncertainty : the Class Aves was 
held to be composed of three "Orders" — SauruRjE (p. 814); Ratit^ 

Birds,' communicated by Prof. Lilljeborg to the Zoological Society in 1866, and 
published in its Proceedings for that year (pp. 5-20), since it was immediately after 
reprinted by the Smithsonian Institution, and with that authorization has exercised a 
great influence on the opinions of American ornithologists. Otherwise the scheme 
would hardly need notice here. This paper is indeed little more than an English 
. translation of one published by the author in the annual volume {Arsskrift) of the 
Scientific Society of Upsala for 1860 ; and, belonging to the pre-Darwinian epoch, 
should perhaps have been more properly treated before, but that at the time of its 
original appearance it failed to attract attention. The chief merit of the scheme perhaps 
is that, contrary to nearly every precedent, it begins with the lower and rises to the 
higher groups of Birds, which is of course the natural mode of proceeding, and one 
therefore to be commended. Otherwise the " principles " on which it is founded are 
not clear to the ordinary zoologist. One of them is said to be " irritability," which 
is explained to mean, not "muscular strength alone, but vivacity and activity 
generally," and on this ground it is stated that the Passeres should be placed 
highest in the Class. But those who know the habits and demeanour of many of 
the Limicolse would no doubt rightly claim for them much more " vivacity and 
activity " than is possessed by most Passeres. " Irritability " does not seem to form 
a character that can be easily appreciated either as to quantity or quality ; in fact most 
persons would deem it quite immeasurable, and, as such, removed from practical con- 
sideration. Moreover, Prof. Lilljeboi-g's scheme, being actually an adaptation of that 
of Suudevall, of wliich we shall have to speak almost immediately, may possibly be 
left for the present with these remarks. 


(p. 766) and CarinaT/E (p. 76). The SatirurgR have the metacarpals well 
developed and not ancylosed, and the caudal vertebrae are numerous and 
large, so that the caudal region of the spine is longer than the body. The 
furcula is complete and strong, the feet are very Passerine in appearance. 
The skull and sternum were at the time unknown, and indeed the whole 
Order, without doubt entirely extinct, rested exclusively on the celebrated 
fossil, then unique, Arch%o])teryx just mentioned. The Eatitss comprehend 
the "Struthious" Birds, which differ from all others now extant in the com- 
bination of several peculiarities, some of which have been mentioned in the 
preceding pages. The sternum has no keel, and ossifies from lateral and 
paired centres only ; the axes of the scapula and coracoid have the same 
general direction ; certain of the cranial bones have characters very unlike 
those possessed by the next Order — the vomer, for example, being broad 
posteriorly and generally intervening between the basisphenoidal rostrum 
and the palatals and pterygoids ; the barbs of the feathers are disconnected ; 
there is no syrinx or inferior larynx ; and the diaphragm is better developed 
than in other Birds.^ The Ratitee are divided into five groups, separated 
by very trenchant characters, principally osteological, and many of them 
afforded by the cranial bones. These groups consist of (i.) Struthio 
(Ostrich), (ii.) Ehea, (iii.) Gasuarius Cassowary, and Dromeeus (Emeu), 
(iv.) Dinornis (Moa) and (v.) Apteryx (Kiwi) ; but no names are here 
given to them. The Garinataz comprise all other existing Birds. The 
sternum has more or lese of a keel, and is said to ossify, with the possible 
exception of Stringops (Kakapo), from a median centre as well as from 
paired and lateral centres. The axes of the scapula and coracoid meet at 
an acute, or, as in Didus (Dodo) and Ocydromus (Weka), at a slightly 
obtuse angle, while the vomer is comparatively narrow and allows the 
pterygoids and palatals to articulate directly with the basisphenoidal 
rostrum. The Garinatse are diAdded, according to the formation of the 
palate, into four "Suborders," and named (i.) Drom^ognath^, (ii.) 


Dromxognatlise, resemble the Batitee, and especially Dromeeus, in their 
palatal structure, and are composed of the Tinamous. The Schizognathee 
include a great many of the forms belonging to the Linneean Orders 
Gallinae, Grallx and Anseres. In them the vomer, however variable, 
always tapers to a point anteriorly, while behind it includes the 
basisphenoidal rostrum between the palatals ; but neither these nor the 
pterygoids are borne by its posterior divergent ends. The maxillo- 
palatals are usually elongated and lamellar, uniting with the palatals, and, 
bending backward along their inner edge, leave a cleft (whence the name 
given to the " Suborder ") between the vomer and themselves. Six groups 
of Schizognathee are distinguished with considerable minuteness : — (1) 
Charadriomorph^ ; (2) GERANOMORPHiE ; (3) Cecomorph^ ; (4) 

■■■ This peculiarity had led some zoologists to consider the " Struthious " Birds 
more nearly allied to the Mammalia than any others. 

^ These names are compounded respectively of Dromasus, the generic name applied 
to the Emeu, crxt'fa, a split or cleft, d^a/ma, a bond or tj'ing, aiyi6os, a Finch, and, in 
each case, yvddos, a jaw. The constitution of the several groups is explained in the 
body of this work under names here printed in small capitals, but is repeated for the 
convenience of the reader. 


Spheniscomorph^ ; (5) Alectoromorph^ ; and finally (6) Peristero- 
MORPH.E. In the third of these "Suborders," the Desviogjiathse, the 
vomer is either abortive or so small as to disappear from the skeleton. 
When it exists it is always slender, and tapers to a point anteriorly. The 
maxillo-palatals are bound together (whence the name of the " Suborder ") 
across the middle line, either directly or by the ossification of the nasal 
septum. The posterior ends of the palatals and anterior of the pterygoids 
articulate directly with the rostrum. The groups of Desmognathge are 
characterized as carefully as are those of the preceding " Suborder," and 
are as follows :—(l) Chenomorph^ ; (2) Amphimorph^ ; (3) Pelargo- 


and lastly (7) Cocctgomorph^, containing four groups, to which, however,' 
names were not given. Next in order come the Celeomorph^, a group 
respecting the exact position of which Prof. Huxley was uncertain,i 
though he inclined to think its relations were with the next group, 
^GiTHOGNATH^, the fourth and last of his "Suborders," characterized 
by a form of palate in some respects intermediate between the two pre- 
ceding. The vomer is broad, abruptly truncated in front, and deeply cleft 
behind, so as to embrace the rostrum of the sphenoid ; the palatals have 
produced postero-external angles ; the maxillo-palatals are slender at their 
origin, and extend obliquely inwards and forwards over the palatals, end- 
ing beneath the vomer in expanded extremities, not united either with 
one another or with the vomer, nor does the latter unite with the nasal 
septum, though that is frequently ossified. Of the ^githognathse two 
divisions are made— (1) Ctpselomorph^, and (2) Coracomorph^,^ 
which last are separable into two groups, one (a) formed of the genus 
Menura (Lyre-bird), which then seemed to stand alone, and the oth'er (6) 
made up of PoLYMYODiE, TRACHEOPHONiE and Oligomyod^, sections 
founded on the syringeal structure, but declared to be not natural. 

The above abstract ^ shews the general drift of this very remarkable 
contribution to Ornithology, and it has to be added that for by far the 
greater number of his minor groups Huxley relied solely on the form of 
the palatal structure, the importance of which Cornay, as already stated 
(page 69), had before urged, though to so little purpose. That the palatal 
structure must be taken into consideration by taxonomers as affording 
hints of some utility there could no longer be a doubt ; but the present 
writer is inclined to think that the characters drawn thence owe more of 
their worth to the extraordinary perspicuity with which they were 
presented by Huxley than to their own intrinsic value, and that if the 
same power had been employed to elucidate in the same way other parts 
of the skeleton — say the bones of the sternal apparatus or even of the 
pelvic girdle — either set could have been made to appear quite as in- 
structive and perhaps more so. Adventitious value would therefore seem 

1 Prof. Parker subsequently advanced the Woodpeckers to a higher rank under 
the name of Saurognath^ {Microscop. Journ. 1872, p. 219, and Tr. Linn. Soc. ser. 
2, Zoology, i. p. 2). 

I By mistake this group was referred (page 104) to the Desmognatlious Birds. 
_ •" Tliis is adapted from one {Record of Zool. Lit. iv. pp. 46-49) which was sub- 
mitted to the author's approval. 



to have been acquired by tlie bones of the palate through the fact that so 
great a master of the art of exposition selected them as fitting examples 
upon which to exercise his skill.^ At the same time it must be stated 
this selection was not premeditated by him, but forced itself upon him as 
his investigations proceeded.^ In reply to some critical remarks {Ibis^ 
1868, pp. 85-96), chiefly aimed at shewing the inexpediency of relying 
solely on one set of characters, especially when those afforded by the 
palatal bones were not, even within the limits of Families, wholly 
diagnostic, the author {This, 1868, pp. 357-362) announced a slight 
modification of his original scheme, by introducing three more groups 
into it, and concluded by indicating how its bearings upon the great 
question of " Genetic Classification " might be represented so far as the 
different groups of Garinatx are concerned : — 





CecomorpliEe. Geranomorphse. 
I I 

Splienisooinorpliffi. AetomorphaB. 







Psittacomorphse Coccygomorphse iEgithognathse. Dysporomorphse. 


The above scheme, in Huxley's opinion, nearly represents the affinities of 
the various carinate groujDs, — the great difficulty being to determine the 
relations to the rest of the Goccygoviorphse, Psittacomoiyhse and JEgitliognaihm, 
which he indicated "only in the most doubtful and hypothetic fashion." 
Almost simultaneously with this he expounded more particularly (Proc. 
Zool. Soc. 1868, pp. 294-319) the groups of which he believed the 
Alectoromorphee to be composed and the relations to them of some outlying 
forms usually regarded as Gallinaceous, the Turnicidse (Hemipode) and 
Pterodidse, (Sand-Grouse), as well as the singular Hoactzin, for all three 
of which he had to institute new groups — the last forming the sole repre- 
sentative of his Heteromorph^. More than this, he entered upon their 
Geographical Distribution, the facts of which important subject were, 

^ The notion of the superiority of the palatal bones to all others for purposes 
of classification has pleased many persons, from the fact that these bones are not 
unfrequently retained in the dried skins of Birds sent home by collectors in foreign 
countries, and are therefore available for study, while such bones as the sternum and 
pelvis are rarely preserved. The common practice of ordinary collectors, until at 
least very recently, has been tersely described as being to " shoot a bird, take off its 
skin and throw away its characters." 

^ Perhaps this may be partially explained by the fact that the Museum of the 
College of Surgeons, in which these investigations were chiefly carried on, like most 
other museums, contained a much larger series of the heads of Birds than of their 
entire skeletons or of any other portion of the skeleton. Consequently the materials 
available for the comparison of different forms consisted in great part of heads only. 


almost for the first time, since the attempt of Blyth already mentioned,! 
brought to bear practically on Classification, as has been previously 
hinted (Geographical Distribution, page 313); but, the subject being 
treated elsewhere at some length, there is no need to enter upon it 

Nevertheless it is necessary to mention here the intimate connexion 
between Classification and Geographical Distribution as revealed by the 
palaeontological researches of Prof Alphonse Milne-Edwards, whose mag- 
nificent Oiseauz Fossiles de la France began to appear in 1867, and was 
completed in 1871— the more so, since the exigencies of his undertaking 
compelled him to use materials that had been almost wholly neglected 
by other investigators. A large proportion of the fossil remains the 
determination and description of which were his object were what are 
commonly called the « long bones ", that is to say, those of the limbs. 
The recognition of these, minute and fragmentary as many were, and the 
referring them to their proper place, rendered necessary an attentive 
study of the comparative osteology and myology of Birds in general, that 
of the " long bones," whose sole characters were often a few muscular 
ridges or" depressions, being especially obligatory. Hence it became 
manifest that a very respectable Classification can be found in which 
characters drawn from these bones play a rather important part. Limited 
by circumstances as is that followed by M. Milne-Edwards, the details of 
his arrangement do not require setting forth here. It is enough to point 
out that we have in his work another proof of the multiplicity of the 
factors which must be taken into consideration by the systematist, and 
another proof of the fallacy of trusting to one set of characters alone. 
But this is not the only way in which the author has rendered service to 
the advanced student of Ornithology. The unlooked-for discovery in 
France of remains which he has referred to forms now existing it is 
true, but existing only in countries far removed from Europe, forms such 
as Gollocalia, Leptosomus, Psittacus, Serpentarius and Trogon, is perhaps 
even more suggestive than the finding that France was once inhabited by 
forms that are wholly extinct, of which, as is elsewhere mentioned (Fossil 
Birds, pages 284, 288), there is abundance in the older formations. Un- 
fortunately none of these, for none is old enough, can be compared for 
singularity with Archseopteryx or with some American fossil forms next to 
be noticed, for their particular bearing on our knowledge of Ornithology 
will be most conveniently treated here. 

In November 1870 Prof. Marsh, by finding the imperfect fossilized 
tibia of a Bird in the Middle Cretaceous shale of Kansas, began a series of 
wonderful discoveries which will ever be associated with his name,2 and, 
making us acquainted with a great number of forms long since vanished 

1 It is true that from the time of BufFon, though he scorned any regular Classifi- 
cation, Geographical Distribution had been occasionally held to have something to do 
with systematic arrangement ; but the way in which the two were related was never 
clearly put forth, though people who could read between the lines might have guessed 
the secret from Darwin's Journal of Researches, as well as from his introduction to 
the Zoology of the ' Beagle ' Voyage. 

2 jt ^iji of course be needless to remind the general zoologist of Prof. Marsh's no 
less wonderful discoveries of wholly unlooked-for types of Reptiles and Mammals. 


from among the earth's inhabitants, has thrown a comparatively broad 
beam of light through the darkness that, broken only by the solitary spark 
emitted on the recognition of Archseopteryx, had hitherto brooded over our 
knowledge of the genealogy of Birds, and is even now for the most part 
palpable. Subsequent visits to the same part of North America, often 
performed in circumstances of discomfort and occasionally of danger, 
brought to this intrepid and energetic explorer the reward he had so 
fully earned. Brief notices of his spoils appeared from time to time in 
various volumes of the American Joiirnal of Science and Arts (Silliman's), 
but it is unnecessary here to refer to more than a few of them. In that 
Journal for May 1872 (ser. 3, iii. p. 360) the remains of a large swimming 
Bird (nearly 6 feet in length, as afterwards appeared) having some affinity, 
it was thought, to the Colymhidse, were described under the name of Hesper- 
ornis regalis, and a few months later (iv. p. 344) a second fossil Bird from 
the same locality was indicated as Ichthyornis dispar — from the Fish-like, 
biconcave form of its vertebrte. Further examination of the enormous 
collections gathered by the author, and preserved in the Museum of Yale 
College at New Haven in Connecticut, shewed him that this last Bird, 
and another to which he gave the name of Apatornis, had possessed 
well-developed teeth implanted in sockets in both jaws, and induced 
him to establish for their reception a " Subclass " Odontornithes (page 
649) and an Order Ichthyornithes. Two years more and the origin- 
ally found Hesperornis was discovered also to have teeth, but these were 
inserted in a groove. It was accordingly regarded as the type of a distinct 
Order Odontolc^e (Loc. cit), to which were assigned as other characters 
vertebrae of a saddle-shape and not biconcave, a keelless sternum and 
wings consisting only of the humerus. In 1880 Prof. Marsh brought out 
a grand volume, Odontornithes, being a monograph of the extinct toothed 
Birds of North America. Herein remains, attributed to no fewer than a 
score of species, which were referred to eight different genera, are fully 
described and sufficiently illustrated, and, instead of the ordinal name 
Ichthyornithes previously iised, that of ODONTOTORMiE {loc. cit.) was proposed. 
In the author's concluding summary he remarks on the fact that, while the 
Odontolcee, as exhibited in Hesperornis, had teeth inserted in a continuous 
groove — a low and generalized character as shewn by Reptiles, they 
had, however, the strongly differentiated saddle-shaped vertebrae such 
as all modern Birds possess. On the other hand the Odontotormse, 
as exemplified in Ichthyornis, having the primitive biconcave vertebrae, 
yet possessed the highly specialized feature of teeth in distinct sockets. 
Hesperornis too, with its keelless sternum, had aborted wings but strong 
legs and feet adapted for swimming, while Ichthyornis had a keeled 
sternum and powerful wings, but diminutive legs and feet. These and 
other characters separate the two forms so widely as quite to justify 
their assignment to distinct Orders, and the opposite nature of the 
evidence they afford illustrates one fundamental principle of Evolution, 
namely, that an animal may attain to great development of one set of 
characters and at the same time retain other features of a low ancestral 
type. Prof. Marsh states that he had fully satisfied himself that Archse- 
opteryx belonged to the Odontornithes, which he thought it advisable for 


the present to regard as a Subclass, separated into three Orders — Odontolcse, 
Odontotormee and Saururse. — all well marked, but evidently not of equal 
rank, the last being clearly much more widely distinguished from the 
first two than they are from one another. But that these three oldest- 
known forms of Birds should differ so greatly from each other unmistak- 
ably points to a great antiquity for the Class. All are true Birds ; but 
the Keptilian characters they possess converge towards a more generalized 
type. He then proceeds to treat of the characters which may be expected 
to have occurred in their common ancestor, whose remains may yet be 
hoped for from the Paleozoic rocks, or at least from the Permian beds that 
in North America are so rich in the fossils of a terrestrial fauna. Birds, he 
believes, branched off by a single stem, which gradually lost its Reptilian 
as it assumed the Ornithic type ; and in the existing Ratitse we have the 
survivors of this direct line. The lineal descendants of this primal stock 
doubtless at an early time attained feathers and warm blood, but, in his 
opinion, never acquired the power of flight, which probably originated 
among the small arboreal forms of Reptilian Birds. In them even rudi- 
mentary feathers on the fore-limbs would be an advantage, as they would 
tend to lengthen a leap from branch to branch, or break the force of a 
fall in leaping to the ground. As the feathers increased, the body would 
become warmer and the blood more active. With still more feathers 
would come increased power of flight as we see in the young Birds of 
to-day. A greater activity would result in a more perfect circulation. A 
true Bird would doubtless require warm blood, but would not necessarily 
be hot-blooded, like the Birds now living. Whether Archadopteryx was on 
the Carinate line cannot as yet be determined, and this is also to be said 
of Ichthyornis ; but the biconcave vertebrae of the latter suggest its being 
an early offshoot, while it is jDrobable that Hesperornis came off from the 
main " Struthious " stem and has left no descendants. 

From this bright vision of the poetic past — a glimpse, some may call 
it, into the land of dreams — ^we must relapse into a sober contemplation 
of the prosaic present — a subject quite as difficult to understand. The 
former efforts at classification made by Sundevall have already several 
times been mentioned, and a return to their consideration was promised. 
In 1872 and 1873 he brought out at Stockholm a Methodi Naturalis 
Avium Disponendarum Tentamen, two portions of which (those relating to 
the Diurnal Birds-of-Prey and the " Gichlomorphse^^ or forms related to 
the Thrushes) he found himself under the necessity of revising and modi- 
fying in the course of 1874, in as many communications to the Swedish 
Academy of Sciences {K. V.-Ah Forhandl. 1874, No. 2, pp. 21-30 ; No. 
3, pp. 27-30). This Tentamen, containing a complete method of classify- 
ing Birds in general, naturally received much attention, the more so 
perhaps, since, with its appendices, it was nearly the last labour of its 
respected author, whose industrious life came to an end in the course of 
the following year. From what has before been said of his works it may 
have been gathered that, while professedly basing his systematic arrange- 
ment of the groups of Birds on their external features, he had liitherto 
striven to make his schemes harmonize if j^ossible Avith the dictates of 
internal structure as evinced by the science of anatomy, though he 


uniformly and persistently protested against the inside being better than 
the outside. In thus acting he proved himself a true follower of his 
great countryman Linnaeus ; but, without disparagement of his efforts in 
this respect, it must be said that when internal and external characters 
appeared to be in conflict he gave, perhaps with unconscious bias, a 
preference to the latter, for he belonged to a school of zoologists whose 
natural instinct was to believe that such a conflict always existed. Hence 
his efforts, praiseworthy as they were from several points of view, and 
particularly so in regard to some details, failed to satisfy the philosophic 
taxonomer when generalizations and deeper principles were concerned, and 
in his practice in respect to certain technicalities of classification he was, in 
the eyes of the orthodox, a transgressor. Thus instead of contenting him- 
self with terms that had met with pretty general approval, such as Class, 
Subclass, Order, Suborder, Family, Subfamily and so on, he introduced 
into his final scheme other designations, "Agmen," "Cohors," "Phalanx" 
and the like, which to the ordinary student of Ornithology convey an 
indefinite meaning, if any meaning at all. He also carried to a very 
extreme limit his views of nomenclature, which were certainly not in 
accordance with those held by most zoologists, though this is a matter so 
trifling as to need no details in illustration. It is by no means easy to 
set forth briefly, and at the same time intelligibly, to any but experts, 
the final scheme of Sundevall, owing to the number of new names intro- 
duced by him, and there is no need here to make the attempt, for experts 
would rather consult the work itself or the English version of it.i Praised 
in various quarters as Sundevall's perfected System was on its appearance, 
the present writer felt from the first that it would speedily be seen to 
what little purpose so many able men had laboured if arrangement and 
grouping so manifestly artificial — the latter often of forms possessing no 
real affinity — could pass as a natural method. He was not so sanguine as 
to hope that it might be the last of its kind, though any one accustomed 
to look deeper than the surface must have seen its numerous defects, and 
almost every one, whether so accustomed or not, ought by its means to be 
brought to the conclusion that, when a man of Sundevall's knowledge 
and experience could not, by trusting only to external characters, do 
better than this, the most convincing proof is afforded of the inability of 
external characters alone to produce anything save ataxy. The principal 
merits it possesses are confined to the minor arrangement of some of the 
Oscines ; but even here many of the alliances, such, for instance, as that 
of Pitta with the true Thrushes, are indefensible on any rational grounds, 
and some, as that of Accentor with the Weaver-birds, verge upon the 
ridiculous, while on the other hand the interpolation of the American 
Warblers, Mniotiltidse, between the normal Warblers of the Old World 
and the Thrushes is as bad — especially when the genus Mniotilta is placed, 
notwithstanding its different wing-formula, with the Tree-creepers, Certhiidss. 
The whole work unfortunately betrays throughout an utter want of the 
sense of proportion. In many of the large groups very slight differences 
are allowed to keep the forms exhibiting them widely apart, while in 

1 Sundevall's Tentamen, Translated into English with Notes, by Francis 
Nicholson. London : 1889. 


most of the smaller groups differences of far greater kind are overlooked, 
so that the forms which present them are linked together in more or less 
close union. Thus, regarding only external characters, great as is the 
structural distinction between the Gannets, Cormorants, Frigate-birds and 
Pelicans, it is not held to remove them from the limits of a single Family ; 
and yet the Thrushes and the Chats, whose distinctions are barely sensible, 
are placed in separate Families. Again, even in one and the same group, 
the equalization of characters indicative of Families is wholly neglected. 
Thus among the Pigeons the genera Didus and Didunculus, which differ, 
so far as we know it, in every external character of their structure, are 
placed in one Family, and yet on very slight pretext the genus Goura, 
which in all respects so intimately resembles ordinary Pigeons, is set apart 
as the representative of a distinct Family. The only use of dwelling upon 
these imperfections here is the hope that thereby students of Ornithology 
may be induced to abandon the belief in the efficacy of external characters 
as a sole means of classification, and, seeing how unmanageable they become 
unless checked by internal characters, be persuaded of the futility of any 
attempt to form an arrangement without that solid foundation which can 
only be obtained by a knowledge of anatomy. Where Sundevall failed 
no one else is likely to succeed ; for he was a man gifted with intelligence 
of a rare order, a man of cultivation and learning, one who had devoted 
his whole life to science, who had travelled much, studied much and 
reflected much, a man whose acquaintance with the literature of his 
subject probably exceeded that of any of his contemporaries, and a man 
whose linguistic attainments rendered him the envy of his many friends. 
Yet what should have been the crowning work of his long life is one that 
all who respected him, and that comprehends all who knew him, must regret, 
though apart from his systematic treatment his handiwork is admirable.^ 
Of the very opposite kind was the work of the two men next to be 
mentioned — Garrod and Forbes — both cut short in a career of promise ^ 

■^ In 1882 Dr. Eeichenow prefixed to his Vogel der Zoologischen Garten another 
scheme of Classification, which, though out of order, may here be mentioned, from its 
treatment being in several respects similar to Sundevall's. Its author gave (i. p. viii.) 
the representation of a genealogical tree {Stammhaum) shewing the descent of existing 
Birds from those which were furnished with teeth (of which more presently) by four 
principal stems — 1. "Kurzflugler", Br'evipennes ; 2. speedily dividing into "Schwimm- 
vogel", Natatores and " Stelz vogel ", Grallatores ; 3. " Girrvogel ", Gyrantes ; and 
4. " Fanger ", Ca^iatores, "Paarzeher", Fibulatores and "Ba,umv'6ge\", Arboricolai, 
which succeed one another in the order named. These all form 7 Series (Reike) and are 
split into 17 Orders. The sense of proportion seems here more lamentably wanting 
than in Sundevall's Tentamen. All the " Struthious " Birds form one Family, and the 
Oscines contain 21 ! While Series 5, Gyrantes, consists only of the Columbas, Series 
6, Cax>tatores, includes Grypturi, Rasores (all Gallinie and Ojnsthocomtis), and Ra}]- 
tatores — containing Vulturidie {Sarcorliamphinx, Vulturinw and Gypastinw), Fal- 
conidse and Slrigidas. This will shew that no account is taken of any structural 
characters excei3t those which are superficial ; but the author's tree of ornithic 
genealogy may be regarded as an important feature, having been anticipated, so far as 
I know, only by that of Prof. Hiickel {Gen. Mor2)liol. ii. Taf. vii.) which went but a 
short way. 

- Alfred Henry Garrod, Prosector to the Zoological Society of Loudon, died of 
consumption in 1879, aged thirty-three. His successor in tliat office, William 
Alexander Forbes, fell a victim to the deadly climate of the Niger in 1883, and in his 
twenty-eighth year. 


that among students of Ornithology has rarely been eqiialled and perhaps 
never surpassed. The present writer finds it difl&cult to treat of the 
labours of two pupils and friends, for while fully recognizing the brilliant 
nature of some of their researches, he is compelled very frequently to 
dissent from the conclusions at which they arrived, deeming them to 
have often been of a kind that, had their authors survived to a maturer 
atje, they would have greatly modified. Still he well knows that learners 
are mostly wiser than their teachers ; and, making due allowance for the 
haste with which, from the exigencies of the post they successively held, 
their investigations had usually to be published, he believes that much of 
the highest value underlies even the crudest conjectures contained in their 
several contributions to Ornithology. Putting aside the monographical 
papers by which each of them followed the excellent example set by their 
predecessor in the office they filled — Dr. Murie^ — and beginning with 
Garrod's,2 those having a more general scope, all published in the 
Zoological Society's Proceedings, may be briefly considered. Starting 
from the level reached by Huxley, the first attempt made by the younger 
investigator was in 1873, " On the value in Classification of a Peculiarity 
in the anterior margin of the Nasal Bones in certain Birds." Herein he 
strove to prove that Birds ought to be divided into two Subclasses — one, 
called " HoLORHiNAL," in which a straight line drawn transversely across 
the hindmost points of the external narial apertures passes in front of the 
posterior ends of the nasal processes of the prsemaxillse, and the other, 
called " ScHizoRHiNAL," in which such a line passes behind those processes. 
If this be used as a criterion, the validity of Huxley's group Schizognathse 
is shaken ; but there is no need to enlarge upon the proposal, for it was 
virtually abandoned by its author within little more than a twelvemonth. 
The next subject in connexion with Systematic Ornithology to which 
Garrod applied himself was an investigation of the Carotid Arteries, and 
here, in the same year, he made a considerable advance upon the labours 
of Nitzsch, as might well be expected, for the opportunities of the latter 
were very limited, and he was only able, as we have seen (page 65), to 
adduce four types of structure in them, while Garrod, with the superior 
advantages of his situation, raised the number to six. Nevertheless he 
remarks that their " disposition has not much significance among Birds, 
there being many Families in which, whilst the majority of the species 
have two, some have only one carotid," The exceptional cases cited by 
him are quite sufficient to prove that the condition of this artery has 
nearly no value from the point of view of general classification (c/. pages 
76, 77). If relied upon it would split up the Families Bricerotidse and 

■' Dr. Murie's chief papers having a direct bearing on Systematic Ornithology 
are : — in the Zoological Society's Transactions (vii. p. 465), ' On the Dermal and 
Visceral Structures of the Kagu, Sun-Bittern and Boatbill ' ; in the same Society's 
Proceedings — (1871, p. 647) 'Additional Notice concerning the Powder-Downs of 
Rhinochetus jubaius\ (1872, p. 664) 'On the Skeleton of Todus with remarks as to 
its Allies', (1879, p. 552) 'On the Skeleton and Lineage of Fregilupus varius' ; in 
The lbis~(l872, p. 262) 'On the genus Colius', (1872, p. 383) 'Motmots and their 
af&nities', (1873, p. 181) 'Relationships of the Upiqndw.' 

^ Garrod's Scientific Papers were collected and published in a memorial volume 
edited by Forbes in 1881. There is therefore no need to give a list of them here. 
Forbes's papers were similarly edited by Mr. Beddard in 1885. 


Cypselidee, which, no sane person would doubt to be homogeneous and 
natural. The femoral vessels formed another subject of investigation, 
and were found to exhibit as much exceptional conformation as those of 
the neck — for instance in Gentropus phasianus, one of the Birds known as 
CouCALS, the femoral artery accompanies the femoral vein, though it does 
not do so in another species of the genus, G. rufipennis, nor in any other 
of the Guculidee (to which Family the genus Gentropus has been always 
assigned) examined by Garrod. Nor are the results of the very great 
labour which he bestowed upon the muscular conformation of the thigh 
in Birds any more conclusive when they come to be impartially and 
carefully considered. Myology was with him always a favourite study, and 
he may be not unreasonably supposed to have had a strong feeling as to 
its efficacy for systematic ends. It was in favour of an arrangement based 
upon the muscles of the thigh, and elaborated by him in 1874, that he 
gave up the arrangement he had published barely more than a year 
before based upon the conformation of the nostrils. Nevertheless it 
appears that even the later of the two methods did not eventually content 
him, and this was only to be expected, though he is said by Forbes {Ibis, 
1881, p. -28) to have remained "satisfied to the last as to the naturalness 
of the two main groups into which he there divided birds " — HoiiALO- 
GONATiE and Anomalogonat^. The key to this arrangement lay in the 
presence or absence of the ambiens muscle, " not because of its own intrinsic 
importance, but because its presence is always associated with peci;liarities 
in other parts never found in any Anomalogonatous bird." Garrod thought 
that so great was the improbability of the same combination of three or 
four different characters (such as an accessory femoro-caudal muscle, a 
tufted oil-gland and c^ca) arising independently in different Birds that 
similar combinations of characters could only be due to blood-relationship. 
The ingenuity with which he found and expressed these combinations of 
characters is worthy of all praise ; the regret is that time was wanting 
for him to think out all their consequences, and that he did not take also 
into account other and especially osteological characters. Every osteologist 
must recognize that the neglect of these makes Garrod's proposed classi- 
fication as unnatural as any that had been previously drawn up, and 
more unnatural than many. So much is this the case that, with the 
knowledge we have that ere his death he had already seen the need of 
introducing some modifications into it, its reproduction here, even in the 
briefest abstract possible, would not be advisable. Two instances, however, 
of its failure to shew natural affinities or differences may be cited. The 
first Order Galliformes of his Subclass Homalogonatee is made to consist 
of three "Cohorts" — Struthiones, Gallinacese and Psittaci — a somewhat 
astonishing alliance ; but even if that be allowed to pass, we find the 
second " Cohort " composed of the Families Palamedeidse, Gallince, Eallida^, 
Otididee (containing two Subfamilies, the Bustards and the Flamingoes), 
Musophagidx and Guculidee. Again the Subclass Anomalogonatm includes 
three Orders — Piciformes, Passeriformes, Gypseliformes — a preliminary to 
which at first sight no exception need be taken ; but immediately we look 
into details we find the Alccdinidce placed in the first Order and the 
Meropidee in the second, together with the Passcres and a collection of 


Families almost every feature in the skeleton of which points to a separa- 
tion. Common sense revolts at the acceptance of any scheme which 
involves so many manifest incongruities. With far greater pleasure 
we would leave these investigations, and those on certain other muscles, 
as well as on the Disposition of the deep plantar Tendons, and dwell upon 
his researches into the anatomy of the Passerine Birds with the view to 
their systematic arrangement. Here he was on much safer ground, and 
it can hardly be doubted that his labours will stand the test of future 
experience, for, though it may be that all his views will not meet with 
iiltimate approval, he certainly made the greatest advance since the days 
of Miiller, to the English translation of whose classical work he added (as 
before mentioned) an excellent appendix, besides having already con- 
tributed to the Zoological Proceedings between 1876 and 1878 four 
memoirs replete with observed facts which no one can gainsay. As his 
labours were continued exactly on the same lines by Forbes, who between 
1880 and 1882 published in the same journal six more memoirs on the 
subject, it will be convenient here to state generally, and in a combined 
form, the results arrived at by these two investigators. 

Instead of the divisions of Passerine Birds instituted by Miiller, Garrod 
and Forbes having a wider range of experience considered that they had 
shewn that the Passeres consist of two primary sections, which the latter 
named respectively Desmodactyli and Eleutherodactyli, from the facts 
discovered by the former that in the Eurylsemidee, (Broadbill), a small 
Family peculiar to some parts of the Indian Eegion, and consisting of 
some ten or twelve species only, there is a strong band joining the muscles 
of the hind toe exactly in the same way as in many Families that are not 
Passerine, and hence the name Desmodactyli, while in all other Passerines 
the hind toe is free. This point settled, the Eleutherodactyli form two 
great divisions, according to the structure of their vocal organs ; one of 
them, roughly agreeing with the Clamatores of some writers, is called 
Mesomtodi, and the other, corresponding in the main, if not absolutely, 
with the seines, Polymyodi, or true Passeres of various authors, is named 
AcROMTODi — " an Acromyodian bird being one in which the muscles of 
the syrinx are attached to the extremities of the bronchial semi-rings, a 
Mesomyodian bird being one in which the muscles of the syrinx join the 
semi-rings in their middle." Furthermore, each of these groups is sub- 
divided into two : the Acromyodi into " normal " and " abnormal," of which 
more presently ; the Mesomyodi into Homceomeri and Heteromeri, 
according as the sciatic or the femoral artery of the thigh is developed — 
the former being the usual arrangement among Birds and the latter the 
exceptional. Under the head Heteromeri come only two Families, but 
these Garrod was inclined to think should not be considered distinct. 
The Homceomeri form a larger group, and are at once separable, on account 
of the structure of their vocal organs, into Tracheophonx (practically 
equivalent to the Tracheophones of Miiller) and Haploophon^ (as 
Garrod named them) — the last being those Passeres which were by Miiller 
erroneously included among his Picarii, namely, the Tyrannidse (Tyrant) 
with Rujncola (Cock-of-the-Rock) and Pitta. To these are now added 
Families not examined by him, — but subsequently ascertained by Forbes 



to belong to the same group, — Philepitticlse and Xenicidae, more properly 
Acanthidosittidee, (Xenicus), and it is remarkable that these last three 
Families are the only members of the Mesomyodi which are not peculiar 
to the New World — nay more, if we except the Tyrannidx, which in 
North America occur chiefly as migrants, — not peculiar to the Neotropical 
Eegion. The Tracheophonse are held to contain five Families — Furnariidae, 
(Oven-bird), Ptemptochidee (Tapaculo), Dendrocolaptidee (Picucule), 
ConopophagidsR and Formicariidse, (Ant-Thrush). Eeturning now to the 
Acromyodi, which include, it has just been said, a normal and an abnormal 
section, the latter consists of Birds agreeing in the main, though not 
absolutely, as to the structure of the syrinx with that of the former, yet 
differing so considerably in their osteology as to be most justifiablyseparated. 
At that time only two types of these abnormal Acromyodi were known — 
Menura (Lyre-bird) and Atrichornis (Scrub-bird), both from Australia, 
while all the remaining Passeres, that is to say, incomparably the greater 
number of Birds in general, belong to the normal section. Thus the 
whole scheme of the Passeres,'^ as worked out by Garrod and Forbes, can 
be briefly expressed as below ; and this expression, so far as it goes, is 
probably near the truth, though for simplicity's sake some of the inter- 
mediate group-names might perhaps be omitted : — 



Abnormales, Menura, Atrichornis. 



Furnariidie, PteroptocMclm, Dendrocolapticlte, Conopophagidm, For- 

Tyrannidee, Rupicola, Pittidse, PhUepittidie, Xenicidse. 
Heteromeei, Cotingidw, Pipridse. 


It will be seen that no attempt was made to separate the Normal 
Acromyodians into Families. Already, in The Ibis for 1874 (pp. 406- 
416), Mr. Wallace had published a plan,- which, with two slight modifica- 
tions that there were manifestly improvements, he employed two years 
later in his great work on The Geographical Distribution of Animals, and 
this included a method of arranging the Families of this division. Being 
based, however, wholly on alar characters, it has of course a great simi- 
larity to the schemes of Prof. Cabanis and of Sundevall* and, though 
simpler than either of those, there is no need here to enter much into its 
details. The Birds which would fall under the category of Garrod's 
Acromyodi normales are grouped in three series : — A. "Typical or 

^ It is right to observe that this scheme was not a little aided by a consideration 
of palatal characters, as well as regard to the disposition of some of the tendons of the 

^ Presenting some analogy to the work of Garrod and Forbes, though mainly 
based on external characters, is that carried on in regard to the feathering of Birds' 
wings, as quoted elsewhere (Remioes, p. 781, note), and deserving much attention. 


Turdoid Passeres," having a wing witli ten primaries, tlie first of whicli 
is always more or less markedly reduced in size, and to tliis 21 Families 
are allotted ; B. "Tanagroid Passeres^' having a wing with nine primaries, 
the first of which is fully developed and usually very long, and contain- 
ing 10 Families; and C. " Sturnoid Passeres," having a vring -uith ten 
primaries, the first of which is " rudimentary," with only 4 Families. 
The remaining Families, 10 in number, which are not normally 
acromyodian are grouped as Series D. and called " Formicaroid Passei-es." 
In The Ibis for 1880 (pp. 340-350, 399-411) Mr. Sclater made a 
laudable attempt at a general arrangement of Birds,i trying to harmonize 
the views of ornithotomists with those taken by the ornithologists who 
only study the exterior ; but, as he explained, his scheme is really that 
of Huxley reversed,- with some slight modifications mostly consequent 
on the recent researches of Parker and of Garrod, and (here may be 
added) a few details derived from the author's own extensive knowledge 
of the Class. Adopting the two Subclasses Carinatse and Eatitx, he 
recognized 3 "Orders" as forming the latter and 23 the former — 
a number far exceeding any that had of late years met with the ap- 
proval of ornithologists. First of them comes the Passeres, of which 
Mr. Sclater would make four Suborders : — (1) the Acroviyodi normales of 
Garrod under the older name of Oscines, to the fiirther subdivision of 
Avhich we must immediately return ; (2) under Huxley's term Oligomyodi, 
all the Ha'iiloophonx, Heteromeri and Desmodactyli of Garrod, compre- 
hending 8 Families — Oxyrliamphidee,^ Tyrannidse, Pijjridse, Cotingidse,, Pittidse,^ Philepittidx and Eurylsejnidx ; * (3) Tracheophon^, 
containing the same groups as in the older scheme, but here combined 
into 3 Families only — Dendrocolaptidse, Formicariidse and Pteroptochidse ; ^ 
and (4) the Acromyodi ahiormales of Garrod, now elevated to the rank of 
a Suborder and unhappily called Pseudoscines. With regard to the 
Acromyodi normales or Oscines, Mr. Sclater takes what seems to be the 
only reasonable view, when he states that they " are all very closely 
related to one another, and, in reality, form little more than one groiip, 
equivalent to other so-called families of birds," going on to remark that 
as there are some 4700 known species of them "it is absolutely necessary 
to subdivide them," and finally proceeding to do this nearly on the 
method of Sundevall's Tentamen, merely changing the names and position 
of the groups in accordance with a plan of his own set forth in the 
Nomenckdor Avium Neotropicalium, which he and Mr. Salvin printed in 
1873, making, as did Sundevall, two divisions (according as the hind 
part of the " tarsus " is plated or scaled), A. Laminiplantares and B. 
Bcutiplantares — but confining the latter to the Alaudidae alone, since the 
other Families forming Sundevall's Scutelliplantares are not Oscinine, nor 

■^ An abstract of tMs was read to the Britisli Association at Swansea in the same 
year, and may be found in its Report (pp. 606-609). 

" A matter of no moment whatever, provided that the ascending or descending 
order be preserved throughout, and not intermixed as slovenly writers are wont. 

* Not recognized by Garrod. 

^ To these ilr. Sclater has now ( Cat. B. Br. Mv.s. xiv. p. 2) added Forbes's Xenicid^. 

" Mr. Schater has since admitted {op. cit. xv. p. 2) the Conojwphagidce of Garrod 
{Proc. Zool. Soc. 1877, p. 452). 


all even Passerine. The following taljle shews the result of a comparison 
of the two modes as regards the Laminiplantares, and may be found conveni- 
ent by the reader : — 

Mr. Sclater, 1880. Sundevall, 1872-73. 

1. Deutirostres/ — practically equal to 1. Ciclalomorplias. 

2. Latirostres,-^ ., 6. Chelidonomorphse. 

3. Curvirostres, ,, 4. Certliiomorphse.^ 

4. Tenuirostres, ,, 5. Cinnyrimorpliffi. 

5. Conirostres, ,, 2. Conirostres. 

6. Cultrirostres, ,, 3. Coliomorpliae. 

These six groups Mr. Sclater thinks may be separated without much 
difficulty, though on that point the proceedings of some later writers (a 
notable instance of which he himself cites) shew that doubt may still be 
entertained ; but he rightly remarks that, " when we come to attempt to 
subdivide them, there is room for endless varieties of opinion as to the 
nearest allies of many of the forms," and into further details he does not 
go. It will be perceived that, like so many of his predecessors, he accords 
the highest rank to the Dentirostres, which, as has before been hinted, 
seems to~be a mistaken view that must be considered in the sequel. 

Leaving the Passeres, ■ the next " Order " is Picarix, of which Mr. 
Sclater proposes to make six Suborders: — (1) Pici, with 2 Families; 
(2) Cypseli, with 3 Families,^ practically equal to the Macrochires of 
Nitzsch ; (3) Anisodactylx, with 12 Families — ■Goliidse, Alcedinidse, Bucero- 
tidse, Uidupidse, Irrisoridm, Meropidae, Momotidse, Todidae, Goraciidse, Lepto- 
somidx, Podargidss and SteatornitMdge ; (4) Heterodadylx, consisting only 
of the Trogons ; (5) Zygodadylse, with 5 Families, Galbulidee, Bucconidse, 
Bhamphastidse, Gapitonidee and Indicatoridee ; and (6) Goccyges, composed 
of the two Families Guculidee and Musophagidae. That all these may be 
most conveniently associated under the name Picariae seems likely enough, 
and the first two " Suborders " are probably natural groups, though 
possibly groups of different value. In regard to the rest comment is for 
the present deferred. The Psittaci, Striges and Accipitres, containing 
respectively the Parrots, Owls and diurnal Birds -of- Prey, form the 
next three "Orders" — the last being held to include 3 Families, 
Fcdconidse, Gathartidee and Serpentariidse (Secretary-bird), which is 
perhaps the best that can be done with them. We have then the 
Steganopodes to make the Sixth "Order," consisting of the 5 Families 
usually grouped together as by Brandt (supra, page 6S) and others, and 
these are followed naturally enough by the Herons under the name of 
Herodiones, to which the three Families Ardeidse, Giconiidse (Stork) and 
Plataleidse, (Spoonbill) are referred ; but the Flamingoes, under Nitzsch's 
title Odontoglossge, form a distinct " Order." The Ninth " Order " is now 
erected for the Palavicdese. (Screamer), \\'hich precede the Anseres — a group 

1 These are not equivalent to Simdevall's gi'oups of the same names. 

2 Mr. Sclater (p. 348) inadvertently states that no species of Sundevall's Cerfhio- 
morphfB is found in the New World, having omitted to notice that in the Tcntamen 
(pp. 46, 47) the genera Mniotilta (peculiar to America) as Avell as Ccrtliia and Sltta 
are therein placed. 

'^ Or 2 only, the position of the Gaprimidgidss being left undecided, but in 1883 
(see next note) put here. 


that, disencumbered from both the last two, is eminently natural, and 
easily dealt with. A great break then occurs, and the new series is 
opened by the Eleventh " Order," Goluvibse, with 3 Families, Oarpo2Jhagid3e, 
Columhida} and Gouridee, " or perhaps a fourth," Didunculidx} — the Dodos 
beine; "held to belong to quite a separate section of the order." The 
Twelfth "Order" is formed by the Pterocletes [!] (Sand-Grouse); and 
then we have the very natural group Gallinse ranking as the Thirteenth. 
The next two are the Opistliocomi and Hemiiwdii for the Hoactzin and 
the Turnicidee (Hemipode) respectively, to which follow as Sixteenth and 
Seventeenth the Fulicarise and Alectorides — the former consisting of the 
Families Rallidx (Rail) and Heliornithidse (Finfoot), and the latter of 
what seems to be a very heterogeneous compound of 6 Families — Aramid^ 
(Limpkin), Uurypygidee (Sun-Bittern), Gruidse (Crane), Psophiidx (Trum- 
peter), Cariamidai (Seriema) and Otididse^ (Bustard). It is confessedly 
very puzzling to know how these varied types, or some of them at least, 
should be classed ; but the need for the establishment of this group, and 
especially the insertion in it of certain forms, is not explained by the 
author. Then we have " Orders " Eighteen and Nineteen, the Limicolae, 
with 6 Families, and Gavise, consisting only of Laridse- (Gull), M^hich 
taken in their simplest condition do not present much difficulty. The 
last are followed by Tuhinares (Petrels), and these by Pygo2)odes, to 
w^hich only 2 Families Golyrtibidx (Diver) and Alcidse (Auk) are allowed — 
the Grebes being included in the former. The Impennes (Penguin) form 
the Twenty-second, and Crypturi (Tinamou) complete the Carinate Sub- 
class. For the Ratitse only three "Orders" are allotted — Apteryges, 
Casuarii and Strutkiones. 

As a whole it is impossible not to speak well of the scheme thus 
sketched out, so far as materials for it existed ; and, in 1884, an attempt 
was made {Encycl. Brit. ed. 9, xviii. pp. 43-49) to indicate those points 
in recent Classifications which then seemed to have been established on a 
pretty sure footing, though therein the writer had no intention, any more 
than he now has, of inventing (as has sometimes been supposed) a new 
arrangement of Birds. He did, however, try to shew that some positions 
which had been taken up could not be maintained, and among other things 
that the " Subclass " Odontornithes, founded as above mentioned (page 87) by 
Prof. Marsh, was artificial, for, while Birds yet retained the teeth they 
had inherited from their Reptilian ancestors, two remarkable and, in the 
opinion of many, distinct groups of the Class had already made their 
appearance, which two groups persist at the present day in the Avcs 
Eatitse and Aves Garinatee- long ago recognized by Merrem. Fvirthermore, 
while the Ratite type (Hesperornis) presents the kind of teeth which 
indicate (in Reptiles at least) a low morphological rank, the Carinate 
type {Ichtliyornis) is furnished with teeth set in sockets and shewing a 
higher development. On the other hand this early Carinate type has 
vertebree whose comparatively simple, biconcave form is equally evidence 
of a rank unquestionably low ; but the saddle - shaped vertebrae of the 

^ In the eightli edition of the List of Vertebrated Animals in the Zoological 
Gardens, which, being published in 1883, may be taken as expressing Mr. Sclater's 
later views, the first two Families only are recognized, the last two being placed 
nnder Columbiclse. 2 Wrongly spelt Otidse. 


contemporary Ratite type as surely testify to a more exalted position. 
The explanation of this complicated if not contradictory state of things 
seemed then out of reach ; but one, as will directly be shewn, has since 
been offered by Prof. Fiirbringer. Moreover, the uncertainty which then 
prevailed, even if it has now wholly ceased, among the best-informed 
ornithologists as to the respective origin of Ratitee, and Garinatm, was at 
that time considered with a decided leaning to the view that the last 
were evolved from the first. The labours of the distinguished zoologist 
just named have now shewn the strong probability, if one may not say 
the certainty, of that view being wrong and of the Ratite being a degraded 
type descended from the Carinate.^ Still further, it may here be remarked 
that there is now no need to presume (as was then presumed) the former 
existence of Batitse. with biconcave vertebrae, since all Birds had most 
likely acquired saddle-shaped vertebrse before any forms began to retro- 
grade in the direction of Ratitee, while the ancestors of the modern 
Garinatse possibly lost their teeth as their biconcave vertebrae were 
improving into the higher form.^ 

Seldom does it happen that in a professedly popular work any 
novelty is~shewn unless it be of a kind essentially unscientific ; but the 
Fourth Volume of the Standard Natural History, which treats of Birds 
and was published at Boston in Massachusetts in 1885, is a notable 
exception. Even if some of its originality may be said to lie in its 
eclecticism,^ no one will refuse Dr. Stejneger's labour a conspicuous place 
in a historical sketch of Systematic Ornithology. Though not sole author 
of the book, indeed his name does not appear on the title-page, he has 
admittedly written most of the descriptive portion,'^ while there is no 
question of the taxonomy being all his own and its basis is anatomical. 
The whole volume compares most favourably with anything of the kind 
that has appeared, whether before or since, and open as it may be on 
many points to criticism,^ all who have used it must regret that it is not 
better known in this country. Here, however, we have but its Classifica- 
tion to deal with ; and, considering the many new ideas and terms put 

•'■ It now seems to me curious that, having then suggested (to??i. cit. p. 44) that 
Apteryx and Dinornis were degraded descendants of earlier Ratitse, I did not perceive 
the possibility of those very Ratitee being degenerate forms. 

2 Prof. Marsh {Ain. Joiirn. Sc. April 1879, and Odontornithes, pp. 180, 181) 
stated that in the third cervical vertebra of Ichthyor^iis " we catch nature in the act 
as it were " of modifying one form of vertebra into another, for this single vertebra in 
Ichthyornis is in vertical section " moderately convex, while transversely it is strongly 
concave ; thus presenting a near approach to the saddle-like articulation." He pro- 
ceeded to point out that this specialized feature occurs at the first bend of the neck, 
and, greatly facilitating motion in a vertical plane, is " mainly due originally to its 
predominance." The form of the vertebrte would accordingly seem to be as much 
correlated with the mobility of the neck as is the form of the sternum with the 
faculty of flight. 

^ Cf. Gadow, Thier-reich, Vdgel, ii. p. 48. 

* His fellow-workers were Messrs. Barrows and Elliot, the former taking the 
Acclpitres, and the latter Opisthocoriii, Gallinie, Pterocletcs\V\, Columbw and 
Trochilidie, while Dr. J. S. Kiugsley, the editor of the whole series, supplied the 
account of the Psittaci. 

^ Especially on matters of Nomenclature, a trifling but highly-contentious subject, 
which throughout the present work I have studiously tried to avoid. 



forth, an abstract ^ of Dr. Stejneger's scheme, the peculiarities of spelling 
being observed, seems advisable : — 


■^^ "Si— -^ g^ « 

o g' ^ S -g -^ g CO 

-§ •'S 1 1 1 - S se ^^^ s 

1 IIMlft filli 

;s^ •§ •'S :§ S o 1 § :s:Ss6-"s-l 
1^ |4|S||| |.1|^ 




i. Stnithiones 

ii. yEpiornithes. 
iii. Apteryges. 
iv. Grypturi. 

V. Ptilopteri. 
vi. Gecomorphse 

vii. Grdllse 

viii. Ghenomorphie 
ix. Herodii 
X. Steganopodes 
xi. Opisthocomi. 
xii. Gallime 

xiii. Pterocletes. 
xiv. Golumise (4). 
XV. Accipitres (4). 
xvi. Psittaci (8). 
xvii. Picariw 

xviii. Passeres 





I. Saururie 
II. Odontotormm 

III. OdontoholcBS 

IV. Eu7'hipidurw 

^ I have thouglit it needless to occupy space by adding the name of the Families, 
which in nearly every case will be readily supplied, though where there is more than 
one referred to any higher division, I have inserted the number. The Family-names 
are given by Mr. A. H. Evans (Zool. Rec. xxii. Aves, pp. 14-18), by Dr. Sharpe 
[Attempts to classify Birds, pp. 24-29) and Dr. Gadow {ut su^yrd, pp. 46-48). 


Even now ornithologists might easily invent or follow worse schemes 
than that of which the outline has just been given. It looks far more 
complicated at first sight than it will be found to be on closer inspection, 
and close inspection it thoroughly deserves ; while, granting the impossi- 
bility of forming a linear series, the result is remarkably successful. This 
is owing to the attention paid to anatomical facts, shewing to what good 
purpose Dr. Stejneger, in addition to his own investigations, has studied 
the works of ornithotomists, and also the good judgment he has, in most 
cases, exercised as to the respective value of characters, whether internal 
or external — and these last are not forgotten. Had he published his 
classification in a technical form, concisely stating the characters on 
which it was based, instead of leaving all to be collected by the reader as 
he goes, Dr. Stejneger would have simplified matters very much, and 
perhaps have saved some useless labour on the part of others ; but it will 
assuredly be counted to him for righteousness that in theory at least, if 
not always in practice, he has held to morphological principles so far as 
they had been made known. 

Unquestionably the most remarkable recent contribution to System- 
atic Ornithology is that of Prof. Furbringer, in the Second Volume of his 
magnificent Untersuchungen zur Mor-phologie und SystemMih der Vogel, 
published in 1888 as a jubilee work by the well-known 'Natura Artis 
Magistra' Society of Amsterdam. It is impossible to exaggerate either 
the importance or the amount of the labour bestowed on these researches, 
of which the systematic results are but a comparatively small part, 
though the part that here requires most notice, for they render doubtful 
much that had before been deemed fairly-well established, and put the 
Reptilian joedigree of Birds and the position of the Ratitse in a wholly 
new light, incidentally proving the latter to be derived from ancestors 
fully endowed with wings. This last position, however, does not upset 
Prof. Marsh's contention that the first Birds had not the faculty of flight. 
It only makes evident that between the volant forefathers of the modern 
Ratitx and the very first Birds, there intervened an indefinite but great 
number of forms of which few if any traces are known to us, and that the 
origin of Birds is far more remote than we had been inclined to suppose. 

Birds, considers Prof. Fiirbringer (op. cit. p. 1563), since they spring 
from Reptiles, must have begun with toothed forms of small or moderate 
size, with long tails and four Lizard-like feet, having distinct metacarpals 
and metatarsals, beside well-formed claws, while their bodies were clothed 
with a very primitive kind of down. These forms he terms Protoherp- 
ornithes — old Reptilian Birds ( Urkriechvdgel). To them succeeded 
forms wherein the down developed into feathers, and the fore and hind 
limbs differed in build — the former becoming organs of prehension, and 
the latter the chief instruments of progression. There was a Dinosaur- 
like transformation of the legs and pelvis, with by-and-by a coalescence 
of the metatarsals, enabling the creature to become bipedal. These were 
the Protortliornithes or Prot-Aptenornithca — the first Birds that stood erect, 
or the first flightless Birds — many of considerable size, but flightless, and 
they may have left their footprints (Ornithichnites, page 277) on Ti-iassic 
rocks, and to them may have belonged (p. 1518) Laoptcryx (page 280, note 


1). Hitlierto all these ancient animals, wtetlier having four feet or two, 
moved on the ground or, at most, and this especially in the case of the 
smaller forms, climbed trees. Among those that possessed this habit, the 
befeathering (which as yet had, like the hair of Mammals, served only 
foi warmth) presumably entered upon a higher step, the feathers becom- 
ing larger on certain parts of the body, particularly on the fore limbs 
and tail, so as to begin to act as a parachute, and allow of a safe gliding 
descent from a height. By successive increase in stiffness and size of the 
feathers, and corresponding modification and strengthening of the skeleton 
and muscles, the possibility of incipient but real flight was afi'orded to 
these Birds, the Proto-Ptenornithes — the first flying Birds {Urflugvogel), of 
which, in all likelihood, there were many varied forms, though Archas- 
optenjx (page 278) is the single type known to us. The faculty of flight, 
thus acquired, went on imjjroving. The remiges grew stronger and 
stronger, and, in correlation therewith, the distal wing-bones (the meta- 
carpals coalescing) gained greater rigidity, and the muscles connected 
with them, as well as the processes giving origin and insertion thereto, 
increased in size. In proportion as the fore limbs specialized into highly- 
developed wings, and the pectoral arch approached the Carinate type, the 
original faculty of the former as grasping organs was lost. Simultaneously 
as the remiges acquired strength, the tail shortened and was consolidated, 
the posterior vertebrae becoming united as a pygostyle (page 753). Thus 
originated those forms which may be denominated Deutero-Ptenornitlies or 
Ewptenornithes — the higher or better Birds of Flight {hohere Flugvogel). 
This type was already established in the Cretaceous Ichthyornis (page 652), 
and includes the vast majority of existing Birds commonly grouped as 
Carinatse ; but these only in later times developed their various higher modi- 
fications, which were rendered possible by the saving of material and weight, 
— more elaborate vertebrae ; the loss of teeth ; the gain in pneumacity 
of the body — especially in larger forms ; the suitable configuration of 
parts of the skeleton, and the greater importance of smooth muscle com- 
pensating for the diminished performance of striped muscle (page 602). 

During the period in which the Protoptenornithes and Deuteropten- 
ornithes were differentiated, there came about, as almost everywhere in 
Nature, retrograde movement. All Birds did not reach the highest degree 
of faculty of flight. Many stopped, as it were, half way, when a retro- 
gression of the power already attained took place ; or, if the power were 
reached, it could not be maintained — an easy life and absence of rivalry 
inducing an increased bulk of the body, until the utmost exertion of 
muscular strength could no longer sustain it in the air. Thus when 
this retrograde development began, occasion was afforded for the dwind- 
ling away of the volant power, and hence arose the different types which 
are commonly grouped as Eatitse, and may be called Deuter-Aptenornithes, or 
secondary Flightless Birds {secunddr fluglos Vogel). Again, says the author, 
if the retrogression extended only to a limited degree, as in recent cases like 
the Impennes, Alca impennis, certain Rallidee, the Dididee, Stringops and 
others, in whose structure this or that Carinate character is very apparent, 
these form the Trit-Aptenornithes or Flightless Carinates {fluglose Carinaten). 
But in Nature no sharp boundary exists between the Deuter- and Trit- 
Aptenornithes ; Gnemiornis and still more likely Gastornis and Aptornis 


might stand midway. Future discoveries, wliicli one may in all prob- 
ability expect, will still more efface this artificial boundary (p. 1564).^ 

The great novelty of Prof. Fiirbringer's treatment of the Ratitse, is not 
merely denying their existence as a distinct Subclass, for that had been 
done before ^ ; but his demonstration, for it amounts to that, of their 
being the retrograde descendants of volant ancestors, and moreover his 
ojjinion that they diverged at different epochs, so that the several groups 
which now exist are not homogeneous but each had an independent 
pedigree. This not only carries to an extreme the views first enunciated 
by Huxley, who pointed out that each of the existing Eatite groups was 
equivalent in rank to what is commonly deemed an "Order" among 
Birds (though he himself refused them the title), but it also involves an 
acceptance of the doctrine of Isomorphism, to consider which would lead 
us quite beyond our present limits, and therefore must be here let alone.^ 
It should be said, however, that this conclusion seems to have been slowly 
and almost reluctantly adopted by Prof. Fiirbringer, who in the fairest 
way states the objections that may be taken to it, though finally over- 
riding them with the result given above.^ Among the great merits of 
this great work are the representations of a genealogical "tree" shewing 
the descent of Birds not only vertically, and that on two sides, but also 
horizontally at three different epochs. It is unfortunately impossible 
here to reproduce these designs, and as without their aid no correct 
impression of his Classification could be conveyed, it seems better to 
abstain from any attempt to set it forth imperfectly in a linear form,^ 

^ The expectation expressed by Prof. Fiirbringer in this last sentence is a truism 
and need not alarm any true believer in Evolution, since as elsewhere observed 
(Geographical Distribution, page 344) it is obvious that if all creation, past and 
present, stood before us no lines of demarcation could be dra-wn. The taxonomer 
has to judge by the comparatively small number of forms left to us, and between 
them are gaps, sometimes (so to speak) narrow cracks at others wide chasms, to fill 
up which is often beyond the power of imagination, though we know that filled they 
once were. Those gaps form not only convenient iDut the sole means of marking otf 
groups of beings, whether we call them species or sub-kingdoms. Experience teaches 
us to expect that in time we.shall partially know how some of these gaps were filled. 

^ It has been likened to Owen's treatment of them, but is really very different. 
Owen, having formerly recognized an Order Cursores (by no means equivalent to that 
of Illiger), in 1866 declared {Anat. Vertebr. ii. p. 12) it not to be natural, which is 
quite true if in it are placed the heterogeneous forms he then assigned to it — 
Notornis, Struthio, Didus, Apteryx, Dinornis and Palapteryx, which last three he 
said "bear affinity to the Megapodial family of Gallinse," while he considered that 
"the Ostrich bears the same relation to the Bustards " as Notornis to the Coots ! 

^ This doctrine, like that of the Correlation of Growth, is one that may be made 
to account so easily for many difficulties, otherwise apparently insuperable, that one 
is inclined always to view its application with suspicion, and to be loth to invoke its 
aid except on the greatest emergency. 

•* Quite recently Prof. Milne-Edwards {Ann. Sc. Nat. ser. 7, ii. p. 134) declares 
against the homogeneity of the "Brevipennes," and consequently admits the isomor- 
phism of some New-Zealand and Mascarene types. 

•^ It is much to be regretted that while so many works of trifling importance are 
continually being reviewed in our scientific journals. Prof. Fiirbringer's lias obtained 
but little notice in this country. An excellent abstract by Dr. Gadow was published 
in Nature (xxxix. pp. 150-152, 177-181) for the 13th and 20th December 1888, and 
its republication in an accessible form would be most useful, since no translation of 
the original could be hoped for. A more condensed summary, with the author's own 
paradigm, was given by Mr. A. H. Evans [Zool. Rec. xxv. Avcs, pp. 14-16), while Dr. 
Sharpe (Attempts at Classi'f. B. pp. 39-43) has reproduced the original plates as well 


and merely to copy Ms diagrammatic expression of the relationships 
between different groups taken in horizontal section across the tree's main 
branches, as shewn on the next page.^ 

While toiling at his gigantic task Prof. Fiirbringer was in frequent 
communication with his friend Dr. Gadow, at that time engaged in 
completing the Ornithology of what is known as BronvUs Thier-Reich. 
This harmonious intercourse natura;lly had an effect on the opinions of 
each. On the termination of the former's labours the latter, profiting of 
course by them, continued his own investigations in order to work out 
the systematic part of his subject, and they led to conclusions which, 
though for the most part agreeing with those of his predecessor, as might 
be expected when both were the results of morphological research, 
differed from them in several rather important particulars. In 1892 
Dr. Gadow contributed to the Proceedings of the Zoological Society (pp. 
229-256) a highly condensed summary of his views 'On the Classification 
of Birds,' which in the following year he elaborately set forth, with some 
slight modifications, in the Systematic portion of the work above named 
(pp. 61-282). This Classification is based on the examination, mostly 
autoptic, of a far greater number of characters than any that had pre- 
ceded it, and, moreover, they were chosen in a different way, discern- 
ment being exercised in sifting and weighing them, so as to determine, 
so far as possible, the relative value of each, according as that value may 
vary in different groups, and not to produce a mere mechanical "key" 
after the fashion become of late years so common. Whether the upshot 
of it all has been to establish a Natural Classification, one indicating the 
true descent and the real affinities of the several groups known, time 
alone will shew ; but that this latest attempt has been made according 
to the best method few will doubt. Dr. Gadow recognizes two Sub- 
as the paradigm, and the whole has been preyed upon by one of the most successful 
of modern plagiarists. 

^ It is difficult to take as seriously as they were intended the two alternative 
methods simultaneously presented in 1890, by the late Mr. Seebohm {Classification 
of Birds. London : 8vo), while a somewhat modified arrangement of certain groups 
was offered in his Birds of the Japanese Empire, which appeared a few months later ; 
but hesitation on that score was removed by his publication in 1895 of a fourth 
scheme called a Sihpplement, though really subverting its predecessors. In each of 
these works the language of science is professed, but the author's natural inability to 
express himself with precision, or to appreciate the value of differences, is everywhere 
apparent, even when exercising his wonted receptivity of the work of others, and 
especially of Dr. Stejneger and Prof. Furbringer. Nevertheless the first of these 
works formed the basis of Dr. Sharpe's arrangement {Reviexu of Recent Attempts to 
Classify Birds, pp. 55-90) propounded in 1891 to the International Ornithological 
Congress held that year at Buda-Pest, and shortly after followed, with some slight 
alteration, in his Catalogue of the osteological specimens of Birds in the Museum of 
the Eoyal College of Surgeons of England. Dr. Sharpe, however, is not the only 
disciple of Mr. Seebohm, whose method commanded the admiration of Prof. 
Mivart in his handy volume [Birds : The Elements of Ornithology. London : [1892] 
p. 255), which is pronouuced by Mr. Headley [The Structure and Life of Birds. 
London : 1895, p. 390) to be " The best book for beginners." 

The year 1891 saw also the Nouvelle Classification propose'e pour les OiseoMX by 
Dr. Alphonse Dubois {Mem. Soc. Zool. cle la France, iv. pp. 96-116), grounded 
mainly on the work of Sundevall, though modified by Huxley's views. The author 
had the advantage of knowing Prof. Furbringer's scheme ; but hardly of appreciat- 
ing the morphological considerations on which it was based. The chief peculiarity of 
Dr. Dubois's plan is a revival of Bonaparte's notion as to the primacy of the Psittaci. 


cS o -c 

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Horizontal Projection ^ of the Genealogical Tree of the Subclass 
Aves OrnitMirm. After Fiii-bringer (op. cit. p. 1568.) 

^ Sir William Flower [Proc. Zool. Soc. 1869, p. 37) seems to have beeu the first 
Zoologist to use this couvenient Avay of expressing relationships by thus representiug 
a transverse section of the diverging genetic lines or branches of a genealogical tree. 
In practice, however, it comes to much the same thing as the Maps of Classification, 
described by Strickland to the British Association in 1810 [Aim. Nat. Hist. vi. pp. 
190, 191, pi. viii. ), of which a large one designed by him is now in the Cambridge 
Museum ; but his trees were of course only metaphorically genealogical, and so 
differed in principle. 



classes — Archeeornithes, of which Archseopteryx alone can be said to be 
known, and Neornithes, his Classification of which, according to the 
paradigm given by himself (pp. 299-302) is as follows : — 

1. Ratitje. 

Ratitse : Strutliiones ; Rhese ; Casuarii 

Stereornithes : Pliororhacos, Brontornis, Stereornis, &c. 

ornis, Dasornis ; Gastornis. 

2. Odontolce : Hesperornithes ; Enaliornithes. 

3. Carinat^ : [Orders.] [Suborders.] 

Apteryges ; Diiiornithes ; ^pyor- 
Diatryma ; Remi- 




C ° 



'd J 








GolymMformes : — Colymbi, Podicipedes. 
SpJienisciformes : — Sphenisci. 
Proceilariiformes : — Procellarife. 

Ciconiiformes : — Stegauopodes (5) ; Ardeae (2) ; CiconiEe (2) ; Phoeni- 

copteri (2). 
Anseriformes : — Palamedese ; Anseres. 
Falconiformes : — Cathartse ; Accipitres (4). 


Mesites ; Turnices (2) ; Galli (3) ; Opisthocomi. 

■Limicolffi (6) ; Lari (2) ; Pterocles ; ColumbEe (2). 

Cuculi (4) ; Psittaci (6). 

Coraciffi (9) ; Striges (2) ; Caprimulgi (3) ; Cypseli (2) ; 
Colli ; Trogones ; Plci (7). 
PasseriforTties : — P. anlsomyodl : — Subclamatores ; Clamatores (5). 
P. dlacromyodi : — Suboscines (2) ; Osclnes (?). 

[The number suffixed to the name of the Order or Suborder indicates the number 
of Families and Subfamilies recognized, when there is more than one. ] 

Dr. Gadow's Phylogeny arranged in ordinary fashion, for comparison 
with those used before, would be thus — 


% TinaTmforines : — 
' ,2 o Galliformes : — 
i3 2 1 Ch'uif(rnnes : . . . 
^^ Charadriiformes :- 

Cuculifonnes : — 
Coraciiformes : — 




S "^ 


Ratltte. . . Alectoromorphse. 


Pelargomorphse + ColymbomorphEe...Odontolcse 

From the preceding pages, recounting the efforts of many system- 
makers — good, bad and indifferent — it will have been seen what a 
very great number and variety of characters need to be had in remem- 
brance while planning any scheme that will at all adequately repre- 
sent the resiilts of the knowledge hitherto attained, and the best 
lesson to be learnt from them is that our present knowledge goes 


but a very little way in comparison Avith what we, or our successors, 
may hope to reach in years to come. Still we may feel pretty confident 
that we are on the right track, and, moreover, that here and there 
we can plant our feet on firm ground, however uncertain, not to say 
treacherous, may be the spaces that intervene. Now that geographical 
exploration has left so small a portion of the earth's surface unvisited, 
we cannot reasonably look for the encountering of new forms of extant 
ornithic life that, by revealing hitherto unknown stepping stones, will 
quicken our course or effectively point out our path. Indeed, as a matter 
of fact, the two most important and singular types of existing Birds — 
Baleeniceps and Rhinochetus — that in the latter half of this century rewarded 
the exertions of travelling naturalists, have proved rather sources of per- 
plexity than founts of inspiration. Should fortune favour ornithologists in 
the discovery of fossil remains, they will unquestionably form the surest 
guide to our faltering steps ; but experience forbids us to expect much 
aid from this quarter, warmly as we may wish for it, and the pleasure 
of any discovery of the kind would be enhanced equally by its rarity as 
by its intrinsic worth. Even the startling revelation of the group named 
Stereornithes has as yet done little except to add to our knowledge 
a number of ancient types.^ However, it is now a well-accepted maxim in 
Zoology that immature forms of the present repeat mature forms of the 
past, and that, where Palaeontology fails to instruct us, Embryology may 
be trusted to no small extent to supply the deficiency. Unhappily the 
enibryology of Birds has been till latel}' very insufficiently studied. We 
had indeed embryological memoirs of a high value, but almost all were 
of a monographic character, and were only oases in a desert of ignorance. 
The same may be said of Morj)hology, so that a really connected and 
continuous series of investigations, such as was instituted by Prof. 
Fiirbringer, marked a new starting-point ; for it seems clear that hence- 
forth schemes for the Classification of Birds, as of other groups, will be 
divided into those which are based on Morphology, and those which are 
not — the latter falling year by year into disrepute. At the same time, 
with the greatest respect to Morphologists, it must be held that they, like 
other men, are bound by the rules of evidence and the exercise of common 
sense. Moreover, as the discrepancies between the schemes of different 
Morphologists shew, individual opinion will have to be reckoned with for 
some time to come. 

Birds are animals so similar to Eeptiles in all the most essential 
features of their organization that they may be said to be merely an 
extremely modified and aberrant Eeptilian type. These are almost the 
very words of Huxley in 1866,^ and there are now but few zoologists 
to dissent from his statement, which by another man of science has been 
expressed in a phrase even more pithy — " Birds are only glorified 
Reptiles." It is not intended here to enter upon their points of re- 
semblance and differences. These may be found summarized with more 

^ Cy. Andrews, Jiep. Brit. Association {lps\\'ich Meeting) 1895, pp. 714, 715 ; and 
Ibis, 1896, pp. 1-12. 

^ Lectures on the Elements of Comparative Anatomy p. 69 ; see also Carus, 
JIandbuch der Zoologie, i. p. 192» 


or less accuracy in any text-book of zoology/ and it is enough to remark 
that by the naturalist just named Birds and Reptiles have been brigaded 
together under the name of Sauropsida as forming one of the three 
primary divisions of the Vertebrata — the other two being Ichthyopsida and 
Mammalia. Yet Birds have a right to be considered a Class, and as a 
Class they have become so wholly differentiated from every other group 
of the Animal Kingdom that, among recent and even the comparatively 
few fossil forms known to us, there is not one about the assignation of 
which any doubt ought now to exist, though some naturalists have 
refused a place among Aves to Arcliazopteryx, of which, as elsewhere stated 
(pages 278-280), the remains of only two individuals — most probably 
belouging to as many distinct forms ^ — have been discovered. Yet one of 
them was referred, without much hesitation, by Vogt to the Class Reptilia 
on grounds which &eem to be mistaken, since it was evidently in great 
part if not entirely clothed with feathers,^ and scarcely any one now 
doubts that its Bird-like characters predominate over those which are 
obviously Reptilian, while most authorities leave the genus as the sole 
representative as yet known of the Subclass SAURURiE, established for its 
reception by Prof. Hackel. The great use of the discovery of Archeeopiteryx 
to naturalists in general was the convincing testimony it afforded as to 
what is well called "the imperfection of the Geological Record." To 
ornithologists in particular its chief attraction is the evidence it furnishes 
in proof of the evolution of Birds from Reptiles ; though, as to the group 
of the latter from which the former may have sprung, it tells us little 
that is not negative. It throws, for instance, the Pterodactyls * — so often 
imagined to be nearly related to Birds, if not to be their direct ancestors 
— completely out of the line of descent. Next to this its principal 

^ The various schemes for classifying Birds set forth by the authors of general 
text-books of Zoology do not call for any particular review here, as almost without 
exception they are so dra^vn up as to be rather of the nature of a compromise than 
of a harmony. The best and most notable is that by Prof. Carus in 1868 {torn, 
cit. i. pp. 191-368) ; but it is of course now antiquated. Among the worst 
schemes is that by Prof. Glaus in 1882 (Grundzilge der Zoologie, ii. pp. 318-388) ; but 
Dr. Pv. Hertwig's Lehrbuch der Zoologie (Jena : 1892, pp. 538-544) is quite as bad. Of 
most other similar text-books that have come under my notice, the less said the better. 

^ See Prof. Seeley's remarks on the differences between the two specimens ( Geol. 
2Iag. 1881, p. 454). 

^ Vogt laid much stress on the absence of feathers from certain parts of the body 
of the second example of Archseopteryx now, thanks to Dr. Werner Siemens, in the 
museum of Berlin. But Vogt himself shewed that the parts of the body devoid of 
feathers are also devoid of skin. Now it is well known that among most existing 
Birds the ordinary " contour-feathers " have their origin no deeper than the skin, and 
thus if that decayed and were washed away the feathers growing upon it would 
equally be lost. This has evidently happened (to judge from photographs) to the 
Berlin specimen just as to that which is in London. In each case, as Owen rightly 
suggested of the latter, the remains exactly call to mind the very familiar relics of 
Birds found on a seashore, exposed perhaps for weeks or even months to the wash of 
the tides so as to lose all but the deeply-seated feathers, and finally to be embedded 
in the soft soil. Vogt's paper is in the Revue Scientifique, ser. 2, ix. p. 241, and an 
English translation of it in The Ibis for 1880, p. 434. 

■* In 1866 Owen (^4?iato??iy of Vertebrates, ii. p. 13) maintained that "Derivatively 
the class of Birds is most closely connected with the Pterosaurian order," i.e. the 
Pterodactyls ; and the view is probably still held by many persons. 


advantage is to reveal tlie existence, at so early an epocli, of Birds with 
some portion of their structure as higlily organized as the highest of the 
present day, a fact witnessed by its foot, which, so far as can be judged by 
its petrified relics, might well be that of a modern Crow. The fossil 
remains of most other Birds are too imperfect to help the systematist 
much ; but the grand discoveries of Prof. Marsh, spoken of above, afford 
further hints as to the taxonomy of the Class, and their bearing deserves 
the closest consideration. 

And now to review as briefly as possible the present position of the 
taxonomy of Birds. It is allowed by almost all that Archeeopteryx and its 
allies, with some of which we may reasonably hope time will make us 
acquainted, must stand alone whether by the name of SaurursR or 
Archseornithes. For the rest we may, with Prof. Furbringer, revive Prof. 
Hackel's designation of Ornithurm, or adopt the Neornithes of Dr. Gadow ; 
but the next steps of the latter cannot be followed without misgivings. 
We should be content to wait further discoveries before assigning a definite 
place to very many fossil forms of which our knowledge is as fragmentary 
as are the specimens on which it is based. It appears impossible yet to 
correlate the Stereornithes, Diatryma^ Gastornis and the rest ^ with recent 
forms, some of which though extinct essentially resembled many that now 
exist, and confusion can only arise from any attempt to do so. Perhaps 
it would be better if these last could be spoken of as constituting a separate 
division, for which Dr. Stejneger has somewhat unhappily appropriated Dr. 
Gill's name Eurhipidurai (page 99) ; but this division would have to be 
immediately subdivided into Garinatse and Puditse, for, fully admitting 
that Prof. Fiirbringer has shewn the latter to be degenerate descendants of 
the former (jsage 101), it seems impossible not to recognize each as a distinct 
group. His argument in favour of the multiple origin of the Ratitae, is 
hardly convincing. We can well believe that the examples he cites of 
Didus, Stringops, Gnemiomis and other modern flightless Birds are highly 
instructive as to the way in which the Eatitaz have been brought into their 
present condition ; but the characters possessed by all of them in common, 
as first adduced by Huxley, and to those characters others have been 
added by Dr. Gadow, point indubitably to a single or common descent. 

Seeing that we have no knowledge of the presumed Carinate ancestors 
of the Ratitx, it might be thought an open question which of the two , 
existing branches should be first considered ; but it is evident that those 
ancestors, being the collaterals of the ancestors of the modern Garinatse, 

^ While tliese pages are under revision for the press, a renewed investigation of 
the famous South-American fossils, most of which are now in the British Museum, 
more than justifies the view taken when I wrote the above. The results arrived at by 
Mr. Andrews and Dr. Gadow, as briefly announced by the latter {Ibis, 1896, pp. 586, 
587) are that Stereornithes are abolished as a taxonomic group. Phororhacos, of which 
Siereornis seems to be a synonym, is declared to belong to the " Gruiformes," and 
I'elecyornis and Liornis are likely to stand near it. Dryornis appears to belong to the 
" Falconiformes," though Mesemhryornis is perhaps a forerunner of the Rhcidm, and 
therefore probably Ratite. More important is the fact that the fossils are not even 
Upper Oligocene, but Miocene, and none of the forms has any relation to Gastornis. 
Recent excavation of the matrix, as Mr. Andrews has been so good as to shew me, 
proves that Phororhacos had an ossified interorbital septum, whicli had before been 
thought to be wanting (page 905). 


must have been morpliologically inferior to tliese descendants, which on 
evolutionary principles have gone on improving, while the Katite branch 
retrograded. That this last branch also may have improved and under- 
gone specialization is true, but not to the point, for it can hardly have 
improved iip to the level at which was the parting of the ways, and thus 
we are quite justified in continuing to regard the Ratitae as the lower 
branch, and in beginning with them. They were shewn beyond doubt 
by Huxley to form five separate groups, which we shall here, as before,^ 
dignify by the name of Orders, adding to them a sixth, though little has 
as yet been made known of its characteristics. Of this, which contains 
the great extinct Birds of Madagascar, he did not take cognizance, as it is 
here necessary to do. In the absence of any certain means of arranging 
all these orders according to their affinities, it will be best to place their 
names alphabetically thus — 

^PYORNiTHBS. Fam. ^pym-nitMdai (Roc). 

Apteryges. Fam. Apterygidx (Kiwi). 

lir&iANES. Probably two Families ^ — Dinornithidse (Moa). 

Megistanes. Fam. i. Casuariidx (Cassowary) ; Fam. ii. Bromseidse 
(Emeu). 2 

Rhe^e. ¥9,1x1. Bheidse (Rhea). 

Strtjthiones. Fam. Struthionidse (Ostrich). 

Some systematists think there can be little question of the Struthiones 
being the most specialized and therefore probably the highest type of 
these Orders. Nevertheless the formation of the bill in the Apteryges is 
quite unique in the whole Class, and indicates therefore an extraordinary 
amount of specialization. Their functionless wings, however, point to 
their being a degraded form, though in this matter they are not much 
worse than the Megistanes,^ and are far above the Immanes — some of 
which at least appear to have been absolutely wingless, and were thus the 
only members of the Class possessing but a single pair of limbs. 

Turning then to the Garinatm, their subdivision into Orders is attended 
with a considerable amount of difficulty ; and still greater difficulty is 
presented if we make any attempt to arrange these Orders so as in some 
way or other to shew their respective relations — in other words, their 
genealogy. In regard to the first of these tasks, a few groups can no 
doubt be at once separated without fear of going wrong. For instance, 
the Grypturi or Tinamous, the Impennes or Penguins, the Striges or Owls, 
the Psittaci or Parrots, and the Passeres, or at least the Oscines, seem to 
stand as groups each quite by itself, and, since none of them contains any 

^ See Ann. Nat. Hist. ser. 4, xx. pp. 499, 500. It must, however, be borne in 
mind that what here is meant by au " Order " of Ams is a very different thing from 
an "Order" oi Reptilia. 

^ On this see Prof. T. Jeffery Parker's most instructive paper {Trails. Zool. Soc. 
xiii. pp. 373-431, pis. Ivi.-lxii.), in which, though admitting only a single Family, he 
recognizes three Subfamilies — Dinornithinse., Anomalopteryginse and Emeinse. 

^ Since this was in type Dr. Stirling has announced [Trans. Roy. Soc. S. Austral. 
XX. pp. 171-190) that fossil remains of a gigantic bird, Genyornis, found at Calla- 
bonna in South Australia, prove it to have been allied to the Emeus, in which case 
a third Family of Megistanes will probably be required. 

* Nor, possibly, than the jEpyornithes (cf. Andrews, Ibis, 1896, pp. 376-389, pis. 
viii. ix.). 


hangers-on about the character of which there can any longer be room to 
hesitate, there can be little risk in setting them apart. Next comes a 
category of groups in which differentiation appears not to have been 
carried so far, and, though there may be as little doubt as to the associa- 
tion in one Order of the greater number of forms commonly assigned to 
each, yet there are in every case more or fewer outliers that do not well 
harmonize with the rest. Here we have such groups as those called 
Pygojjodes, Gavise, Limicolse, GaUinBe, Cohimbse, Anseres, Herodiones, 
Steganopodes and Accipitres. Finally it has been sought to establish two 
groups of types presenting characteristics so diverse as to defy almost any 
definition, and, if it were not almost nonsense to say so, agreeing in little 
more than in the differences. These two groups are those known as 
Picarise and Aledorides ; but, while the majority of Families or genera 
usually referred to the former plainly have some features in common, the 
few Families or genera that have been clubbed together in the latter make 
an assemblage that is quite artificial, though it may be freely owned that 
with our present knowledge it is impossible to determine the natural 
alliances.of all of them.^ 

That our knowledge is also too imperfect to enable systematists 
successfully to compose a phylogeny of Carinate Birds, and draw out 
their pedigree, ought to be sufficiently evident. We can point to some 
forms which seem to be collaterally ancestral, and among them perhaps 
some of those which have been referred to the group "Aledorides" just 
mentioned ; and, from a consideration of their Geographical Distribution 
and especially Isolation, it will be obvious that they are the remnants of 
a very ancient and more generalized stock which in various parts of the 
world have become more or less specialized. The very case of the New- 
Caledonian Rliinoclietus (Kagu), combining features which occasionally 
recall the Eunjinjga (Sun-Bittern), and again present an unmistakable 
likeness to the Limicolse or the Eallidee, shews that it is Avithout any very 
near relation on the earth, and, if convenience permitted, would almost 
justify us in placing it in a group apart from any other, though possessing 
some characteristics in common with several. 

If we trust to the results at which Huxley arrived, there can be 
little doubt as to the propriety of beginning the Carinate Subclass with 
his Dromeeognathx, the Gryjpturi of Illiger and others, or Tinamous, for 
their resemblance to the Ratitse is not to be disputed ; though it must be 
borne in mind that their mode of development is not known, and that 
this may, when made out, seriously modify their position ; but of the 
sufficient standing of the Grypturi as an Order there can hardly be a 

^ It should have been stated (page 9) that this heterogeneous assemblage called 
an "Order" by Temminck, was adapted from Illiger's Family of the same name 
founded in 1811, and then including in addition Gereopsis ; biit in neither group was 
there a single Cock-like bird. The Alectrides of Dumeril in 1806 consisted of the 
Bustards and Gallinse,. 

^ We have seen that Huxley would derive all other existing Carinate Birds from 
the Drommognathie ; but of course it must be understood in this, as in every otlier 
similar case, that it is not thereby implied that the modern representatives of llie 
Dronueoguathous type (namely, the Tinamous) stand in the line of ancestry. 


Under the name Imjmmes we have a group of Birds, the Penguins, 
smaller even than the last, and one over which until lately systematists 
have been sadly at fault ; for, though we as yet know little definite as to 
their embryology, no one, free from bias, can examine any member of the 
group, either externally or internally, without perceiving how completely 
different it is from any others of the Carinate division. There is per- 
haps scarcely a feather or a bone which is not diagnostic, and nearly 
every character hitherto observed points to a low morjDhological rank. 
The title of an Order can scarcely be refused to the Impennes. 

The group known as Pygo'podes has been often asserted to be closely 
akin to the Imioennes, and we have seen that Brandt combined the two 
under the name of Urinatores, but of their essential difference there can 
now be no doubt, and indeed it is hard to look upon Pygopodes as a natural 
group, so many are the differences between the PodicipedAdsi. or Grebes 
and Colymlidse.^ or Divers, though recent morphologists agree to unite 
them, Avhile the afiinity of the Divers to the Auks seems to be still more 
uncertain, and there appears to be ground for considering the Alcidse to 
be much modified relatives of the Laridee. These are points deserving 
of stiR more attention on the part of embryologists than they have 
hitherto received. Under the improperly applied name of Gavix the 
Gulls and their close allies form a very natural section, but it probably 
hardly merits the rank of an Order more than the Pygopodes, for its 
relations to the large and somewhat multiform though very natural 
grouj) Limicolse have to be taken into consideration.^ The Limicoline 
genera Dromas and Ghionis have many points of resemblance to the 
Laridee ; and on the whole the j^i'oper inference would seem to be that 
the Limicolse, or something very like them, form the parent-stock whence 
have descended the Gavise, from which or from their ancestral forms the 
Alcidee have proceeded as a degenerate branch. If this hypothesis be 
correct, the association of these three groups would constitute an Order, 
of which the highest Family would perhaps be Otididse, the Bustards, 
associated with the foregoing by Prof. Flirbringer, but regarded by Dr. 
Gadow as allied to Cranes, Gruidse, and until further research shews 
which view can be maintained the matter must remain in doubt. On 
the other hand the Petrels, which form the group Tuhinares, seem for 
several reasons to be perfectly distinct from the Gulls and their allies, and 
may be taken to rank as an Order. 

Considerable doubt had long been expressed as to the existence of an 
" Order " Aledorides, and it has just been stated that no one can now 
regard it as a natural group. One of the Families included in it by its 
founder is Gariamidse, (Seriema), the true place of which has been a 
puzzle to many systematizers. There is nothing, however, here to add to 

^ American ornitliologists have lately used this term for the Geebbs, to the great 
disturbance of nomenclature. It is apparently from the ancestors of the ColymUdse, 
before thej' lost their teeth, that Hesperornis branched off as a degenerate, bulky and 
flightless form. 

- The late Prof. Parker long ago observed [Trans. Zool. Soc. v. p. 150) that 
characters exhibited by Gulls when young, but lost by them when adult, are found 
in certain Plovers at all ages, and hence it would appear that the "G'aria^" are but 
more advanced LimicoliB. 


what is elsewhere said in tliis book (pages 828, 829). It is doubtless a 
generalized form,^ the survival of a very ancient type, whence several 
groups may have sprung ; and, whenever the secret it has to tell shall 
be revealed, a considerable step in the phylogeny of Birds ought to 
follow. Allusion has also been made to the peculiarities of two other 
forms placed with the last among the Aledorides — Eurypyga and Rhino- 
chetus — each being the sole type of a separate Family. It seems that they 
might be brought with the Gruidx, Psophiidae (Trumpeter), and Aramida. 
(Limpkin) into a group or Suborder Grues, — -•which, with the Fulicarise, ^ 
of Nitzsch and Mr. Sclater as another Suborder, would constitute an 
Order that might continue to bear the old Linnasan name Grallse. It 
must be borne in mind, however, that some members of both these Sub- 
orders exhibit many points of resemblance to certain other forms that it 
is at present necessary to place in different groups — thus some EallidsR 
to the Gallinse, G-rus to Ofis, and so forth ; and it is as yet doubtful 
whether further investigation may not shew the resemblance to be one 
of affinity, and therefore of taxonomic value, instead of mere analogy, 
and therefore of no worth in that respect. 

We have next to deal with a group nearly as complicated. The true 
Gallinss are indeed as well marked a section as any to be found ; but 
round and near them cluster some forms very troublesome to allocate. 
The strange OpistJiocomus (Hoactzin) is one of these, and what seems to be 
in some degree its arrested development makes its position almost unique.^ 
It must for the present at least stand alone, the sole occu.pant of a single 
Order. Then there are the Hemipodes, which have been raised to 
equal rank by Huxley as Turnicomorplix ; but, though no doubt the 
osteological differences between them and the normal Gallinee, pointed 
out by him as well as by the late Prof. Parker, are great, they do not seem 
to be more essential than are found in different members of some other 
Orders, nor to offer an insuperable objection to their being classed under 
the designation Gallinee. If this be so there will be no necessity for 
removing them from that Order, which may then be portioned into three 
Suborders — Hemipodii standing somewhat apart, and Alectoropodes and 
Peristeropodes, which are more nearly allied — the latter comprehending 
the Alegapodiidse (Megapodes) and Gracidee, (Curassows), and the former 
consisting of the normal Gallinx, of which it is difficult to justify the 
recognition of more than a single Family, though in that two types of 
structure are discernible. 

The Family of Sand- Grouse, Pteroclidse, is perhaps one of the most 
instructive in the whole range of Ornithology. In Huxley's words 
{Proc. Zool. Soc. 1868, p. 303), they are " completely intermediate between 

^ Gariama is the oldest name for the genus, but being a word of ' ' barbarous " 
origin it was set aside by Illiger and the purists in favour of Dicholoplms, under 
which name it is several times mentioned in the present work {cf. Index, 
page 1066). 

2 This group would contain three families — Rallidie, Heliornithidw (the FiN- 
FOOTS of Eastern India, Africa and South America) and the Mesitidas of Madagascar 
— for which an at least approximate place has been found by M. A. Milne-Edwards 
{Ann. ,Sc. Nat. ser. 6, vii. No. 6). 

" Mesites, just mentioned, presents a case which may, however, be very similar. 


the Alectoromorphie [Galli7ice] and the Peristeromorphse IGolumhse]. They 
cannot be included within either of these groups without destroying its 
definition, while they are perfectly definable themselves." Hence he 
would make them an independent group of equal value with the other 
two. Both Prof. Fiirbringer and Dr. Gadow consider the Pigeon- 
alliance the strongest, and indeed the general resemblance of most parts 
of the osteology of the two groups, so well shewn by M. Milne-Edwards, 
combined with the Pigeon-like pterylosis of the Sand-Grouse, leaves no 
room for doubt ; but the many important points in which they differ 
from the more normal Pigeons, especially in the matter of their j^oung 
•being clothed with down, and their coloured and speckled eggs,^ must be 
freely admitted. Young Sand-Grouse are not only " Dasypsedes " but 
even " Prsecoces " or Nidifugie, at birth, while of course every one knows 
the helpless condition of " Pipers " — that is, Pigeons newly-hatched from 
their white eggs. Thus the opposite condition of the young of these 
two admittedly very near grotips inflicts a severe blow on the so-called 
" physiological " method of dividing Birds before mentioned (page 7^), and 
renders the Pteroclidx so instructive a form. The Golumhx considered in 
the wide sense suggested, possessed another and degenerate subdivision in 
the Dodo and its kindred, though the extirpation of those strange and 
monstrous forms will most likely leave their precise relations a matter of 
some doubt ; while the third and last subdivision, the true Columbse, is 
much more homogeneous, and can hardly be said to contain more' than 
two Families, Golumbidge and Didunculidse — the latter consisting of a 
single species (the absurdly -named "Dodlet"), and having no direct 
connexion with the Dididx,^ though possibly it may "be found that 
the Papuan genus, Otidiphafs presents a form linking it with the 

The Gallinse would seem to hold a somewhat central position among 
existing members of the Carinate division,^ whence many groups diverge, 
and one of them, the Opisthocomi or Heteromorpliaz of Huxley, indicates, 
he hinted, the existence of an old line of descent, now almost obliterated, 
in the direction of the Musophagidee and thence, it has been inferred, to 
the Goccygomorphee of the same authority. But these " Coccygomorphs " 
would also ajDpear to reach a higher rank than some other groups that 
we have to notice, and therefore, leaving the first, we must attempt to 
trace the fortunes of a more remote and less exalted line. 

It is impossible with our present knowledge to thread the maze in 
which the taxouomer now finds himself. The Pelargomorpliee of Huxley 
will be seen to differ much from Dr. Gadow's group of the same name ; 
and, though it has been shewn that " Desmognathism " must be aban- 
doned as a bond of union, just as " Schizognathism " has to be relinquished 
as a broken alliance, the difficulty of finding a place for the Anseres seems 
as hard as ever. That ancient form, Palamedea (Screamer), which is 

•^ This fact tells in favour of the views of those who hold the Sand-Grouse to be 
allied to the Plovers ; but the eggs of the Pigeons tell as strongly the other way, as 
do the young. 

2 Phil. Trans. 1867, p. 349. 

3 Of. Parker [Phil. Trans. 1850, p. 755). 


doubtless riglitly attaclied to them does not help us, though perhajDs the 
Flamingos may. From fossil remains we know that they are not of 
yesterday ; and both to Huxley and to Dr. Gadow they seem intermediate 
between the Geese and the Storks and Herons. These last may well 
be considered to be akin to the Steganopodes, which in their turn indi- 
cate some relation to the Accipitres. 

"Whatever may be the alliances of the genealogy of the Accipitres, the 
Diurnal Birds-of-Prey, their main body must stand alone, hardly divisible 
into more than two principal groups — (1) containing the Sarcorhampliidee, 
or the Vultures of the New "World (page 1016), and (2) all the rest, though 
no doubt the latter may be easily subdivided into two Families, VuUuridse 
and Falconidae, and the last into many smaller sections, as has commonly 
been done ; but then we have the outliers left. The African Serpentariide& 
(Secretary-bird), though now represented only by a single species,^ are 
fully allowed to form a type equivalent to the true Accipitres composing 
the main body, and in it we may possibly see a trace of the link connecting 
the Accipitres with the HeriodAones. 

It was so long the custom to place the Owls next to the Diurnal Birds- 
of-Prey that any attempt to remove them from that position could not fail 
to incur criticism. Yet it is now admitted by almost every investigator 
that when we disregard their carnivorous habits, and certain modifications 
which may possibly be thereby induced, we find almost nothing of value to 
indicate relationship between the two groups. That the Striges stand quite 
independently of the Accipitres as above limited can hardly be doubted, 
and, while the Psittaci (Parrot) form a very distinct group, and may 
on some grounds appear to be the nearest allies of the Accipitres, the 
nearest relations of the Owls must be looked for in the multifarious group 
Picari^. Here we have the singular Steatornis (Guacharo), which, long 
confounded with the Caprimidgidx (Nightjar), has at last been recognized 
as an independent form, and it may possibly have branched off from a 
common ancestor with the Owls. The Nightjars may have done the like,^ 
for there is really not much to ally them to the Gypseli (Swift) and 
Trochili (Humming - bird), the Macrocliires proper, as has often been 
recommended. However, it should not be supposed that the place of 
the Striges is under the Picarise ; and the last are already a sufficiently 
heterogeneous assemblage. Whether the Pici (Woodpecker) should be 
separated from the rest is a matter on which Prof. Fiirbringer and Dr. 
Gadow are at variance. That they constitute a very natural and easily 
defined group is indisputable ; more than that, they are perhaps the most 
differentiated group of all those that are retained in the " Order " Picariee ; 
but it does not seem advisable at present to deliver them from that chaos 
when so many other groups have to be left in it. 

^ It was long suspected that that the genus Polyioroides' of South Africa and 
Madagascar, from its general resemblance in plumage and outward form, might come 
into this group, but that idea has now been fully dispelled by M. A. Milne-Edwards 
in M. Grandidier's magnificent Oiseaux de Madagascar (i. pp. 50-66). 

^ The great resemblance in coloration between Nightjars and Owls is of course 
obvious, so obvious indeed as to make one suspicious of their being akin ; but in 
reality the existence of the likeness is no bar to the ailiuity of the groups ; it merely 
has to be wholly disregarded. 


Lastly we arrive at tlie Passeres, and here, as already mentioned, the 
researches of Garrod and Forbes prove to be of immense service. It was 
of course not to be supposed that they had exhausted the subject even as 
regards their Mesomyodi, while their Acromyodi were left almost untouched 
so far as concerns details of arrangement ; but later investigations have 
produced a much more manageable scheme, and so far as it is goes Dr. 
Gadow seems to have good reason for the groups he has made, even though 
exception be taken to part of his nomenclature. 

Thus we reach the true Oscines, the last and highest groiip of Birds, 
and one which, as before hinted, it is very hard to subdivide. Some two 
or three natural, because well-differentiated, Families are to be found in 
it — such, for instance, as the Hirundinidie (Swallow), which have no 
near relations ; the A laudidse (Lark), that can be unfailingly distinguished 
at a glance by their scutellated planta, as has been before mentioned ; or 
the MeUphagidx (Honey-eater), with their curiously constructed tongue. 
But the great mass, comprehending incomparably the greatest number of 
genera and species of Birds, defies any sure means of separation. Here 
and there a good many individual genera may be picked out capable of 
the most accurate definition ; but genera like these are in the minority, 
and most of the remainder present several apparent alliances, from which 
we are at a loss to choose that which is nearest. Four of the six groups 
of Mr. Sclater's " Laminiplantar " Oscines seem to pass almost imperceptibly 
into one another. We may take examples in which what we may call the 
Thrush-form, the Tree-creeper-form, the Finch-form, or the Crow-form is 
pushed to the most extreme point of differentiation, but we shall find that 
between the outposts thus established there exists a regular chain of 
intermediate stations so intimately connected that no precise lines of 
demarcation can be drawn cutting off one from the other. 

Still one thing is possible. Hard though it be to find definitions for 
the several groups of Oscines, whether we make them more or fewer, it is 
by no means so hard, if we go the right way to work, to determine which 
of them is the highest, and, possibly, which of them is the lowest. It has 
already been shewn (page 72) how, by a woeful want of the logical appre- 
hension of facts, the Turdidse came to be accounted the highest, ancl the 
position accorded to them has been generally acquiesced in by those who 
have followed in the footsteps of Keyserling and Blasius, of Prof. Cabanis 
and of Sundevall. Now the order thus prescribed seems to be almost the 
very reverse of that which the doctrine of Evolution requires, and, so far 
from the Turdidse, being at the head of the Oscines, they are among its 
lower members. There is no doubt whatever as to the intimate relation- 
ship of the Thrushes (Turdidse) to the Chats {Saxicolinee), for that is 
admitted by nearly every systematizer. Now most authorities on classifica- 
tion are agreed in associating with the latter group the Birds of the 
Australian genus Petrceca and its allies (Wheatear, pp. 1035, 1036) — 
the so-called " Robins " of the English-speaking part of the great southern 
communities. But it so happens that, from the inferior type of the osteo- 
logical characters of this very group of Birds, the late Prof. Parker called 
them {Trans. Zool. Soc. v. p-. 152) " Struthious Warblers." Now if the 
Petrceca-gTou-p be, as most allow, allied to the Saxicolinee, they must also 


be allied, only rather more remotely, to the Turdidse, — for Thrushes and 
Chats are inseparable, and therefore this connexion must drag down the 
Thrushes in the scale. Let it be granted that the more highly-developed 
Thrushes have got rid of the low " Struthious " features which characterize 
their Australian relatives, the unbroken series of connecting forms chains 
them to the inferior position, and of itself disqualifies them from the rank 
so fallaciously assigned to them. Nor does this consideration stand alone. 
By submitting the Thrushes and allied groups of Chats and Warblers to 
other tests we may try still more completely their claim to the position 
to which they have been advanced. 

Without attaching too much importance to the systematic value which 
the characters of the nervous system afi'ord, there can be little doubt that, 
throughout the Animal Kingdom, where the nervous system is sufiiciently 
develojaed to produce a brain, the creatures possessing one are considerably 
superior to those which have none. Consequently we may reasonably 
infer that those which are the best furnished with a brain are superior to 
those which are less well endowed in that respect, and that this inference 
is reasonable is in accordance with the experience of every Phj^siologist, 
Comparative Anatomist and Palaeontologist, who are agreed that, within 
limits, the proportion which the brain bears to the spinal marrow in a 
Vertebrate is a measure of that animal's morphological condition. These 
preliminaries being beyond contradiction, it is clear that, if we had a series 
of accurate weights and measurements of Birds' brains, it would go far to 
help us in deciding many cases of disputed precedency, and especially such 
a case as we now have under discussion. To the dispraise of Ornithoto- 
mists this subject has never been properly investigated, and of late years 
seems to have been wholly neglected. The lists given by Tiedemann 
{Anat. und Naturgesch. der Vogel, i. pp. 18-22), based for the most part 
on very ancient observations, are extremely meagre, and the practical 
difficulties of carrying on further research, though not insuperable, are 
considered to be great ; ^ but, so far as those observations go, their result 
is conclusive, for we find that in the Blackbird, Turdus merula, the pro- 
portion which the brain bears to the body is lower than in any of the 
eight species of Oscines there named, being as 1 is to 67. In the Red- 
breast, Erithacus rubecula, certainly an ally of the Turdidae,, it is as 1 to 
32 ; while it is highest in two of the Finches — the Siskin, Carduelis 
spinus, and the Canary-bird, Serinus canarius, being in each as 1 to 14. 
The signification of these numbers needs no comment to be understood. 

Evidence of another kind may also be adduced in proof that the 
high place hitherto commonly accorded to the Turdidsz is undeserved. 
Throughout the Class Aves it is observable that the young when first fledged 
generally assume a spotted plumage of a peculiar character ^ — nearly each 
of the body-feathers having a light-coloured spot at its tip — and this is 

■^ One of the latest Avriters on the brain of Birds (Zeitschr. filr ivissensch. Zoolog. 
xxxviii. pp. 430-467, pis. xxiv. xxv.), though giving tables of the proportion of its 
several parts in various genera, unfortunately gives none of the proportion of the 
whole to the body. 

^ Blyth in 1833 seems to have indicated this well-known fact as affording a 
character in classification {Field Nat. i. pp. 199, 200). Nearly 50 years after it was 
claimed as the discovery of another writer. 


particularly to be remarked in many groups of Oscines, so much so indeed, 
that a bird thus marked may, in the majority of cases, be set down with- 
out fear of mistake as being immature. All the teachings of morphology 
go to establish the fact that any characters, not specially adaptive, which 
are peculiar to the immature condition of an animal, and are lost in its 
progress to maturity, are those which its less advanced progenitors bore 
while adult, and that in proportion as it gets rid of them it shews its 
superiority over its ancestry. This being the case, it would follow that an 
animal which at no time in its life exhibits such; marks of immaturity or 
inferiority must be of a rank, compared with its allies, superior to those 
which do exhibit these marks. The same may be said of external and 
secondary sexual characters. Those of the female are almost invariably to 
be deemed the survival of ancestral characters, while those peculiar to the 
male are in advance of the older fashion, generally and perhaps always the 
result of sexual selection.^ When both sexes agree in appearance it may 
mean one of two things — either that the male has not lifted himself much 
above the condition of his mate, or that, he having raised himself, the 
female has successfully followed his example. In the former alternative, 
as regards Birds, we shall find that neither sex departs very much from the 
coloration of its fellow-species ; in the latter the departure may be very 
considerable. Now, applying these principles to the Thrushes, we shall 
find that without exception, so far as is known, the young have their 
first plumage more or less spotted ; and, except in some three or four 
species at most,^ both sexes, if they agree in plumage, do not differ greatly 
from their fellow-species. 

Therefore as regards capacity of brain and coloration of plumage 
priority ought not to be given to the Turdidse. It remains for us to see 
if we can find the group which is entitled to that eminence. Among 
Ornithologists of the highest rank there have been few whose opinion is 
more worthy of attention than Macgillivray, a trained anatomist and a 
man of thoroughly independent mind. Through the insufficiency of his 
opportunities, his views on general classification were confessedly imperfect, 
but on certain special points, where the materials were present for him to 
form a judgment, one may generally depend upon it. Such is the case 
here, for his work shews him to have diligently exercised his genius in 
regard to the Birds which we now call Oscines. He belonged to a period 
anterior to that in which questions that have been brought uppermost by 
the doctrine of Evolution existed, and yet he seems not to have been with- 
out perception that such questions might arise. In treating of what he 
termed the Order Vagatores,^ including among others the Family Gorvidsz 
— the Crows, he tells us {Brit. Birds, i. pp. 485, 486) that they "are to 
be accounted among the most perfectly organized birds," justifying the 
opinion by stating the reasons, which are of a very varied kind, that led 

••■ See Darwin, Descent of Alan, chaps, xv. xvi. 

^ According to Seebolim {Gat. B. Brit. Mus. v. p. 232) these are in his nomencla- 
ture Merula nigrescens, M. fuscatra, M. gigas and M. gigantodes. 

^ In this order he included several groups of Birds which we now know to be but 
slightly if at all allied ; but his intimate acquaintance was derived from the Gorvidaa 
and the allied Family we now call Stumidee. 


him to it. In one of the earlier treatises of the late Prof. Parker, he has 
expressed {Trans. Zool. Soc. v. p. 150) his approval of Macgillivray's views, 
adding that, " as that speaking, singing, mocking animal, Man, is the 
culmination of the Mammalian series, so that bird in which the gifts of 
speech, song and mockery are combined must be considered as the top and 
crown of the bird-class." Any doubt as to which Bird is here intended 
is dispelled by another passage, written ten years later, wherein (M. 
Microscop. Journ. 1872, p. 217) he says, "The Crow is the great sub- 
rational chief of the whole kingdom of the Birds ; he has the largest 
brain ; the most wit and wisdom ;" and again, in the Zoological Society's 
Transactions (ix. p. 300), " In all respects, physiological, morphological 
and ornithological, the Crow may be placed at the head, not only of its 
own great series (birds of the Crow-form), but also as the unchallenged 
chief of the whole of the ' Carinatpe.'"^ 

It is to be supposed that the opinion so strongly expressed in the 
passage last cited has escaped the observation of many systematizers ; for he 
would be a bold man who would venture to gainsay it. Still Parker has 
left untouched or only obscurely alluded to one other consideration that 
has been -here brought forward in opposing the claim of the Turdidx, and 
therefore a few words may not be out of place on that point — the evidence 
afforded by the coloration of plumage in yoiing and old. Now the Gorvidee 
fulfil as completely as is possible for any group of Birds to do the obliga- 
tions required by exalted rank.^ To the magnitude of their brain beyond 
that of all other Birds Parker has already testified, and it is the rule for 
their young at once to be clothed in a plumage which is essentially that 
of the adult. This plumage may lack the lustrous reflexions that are 
only assumed when it is necessary for the welfare of the race that the 
wearer should don the best apparel, but then they are speedily acquired, 
and the original difference between old and young is of the slightest. 
Moreover, this obtains even in what we may fairly consider to be the 
weaker forms of the Gorvidee — the Pies and Jays. In one species of 
Gorvus, and that (as might be expected) the most abundant, namely, the 
Eook, G. frugilegus, very interesting cases of what would seem to be 
explicable on the theory of Eeversion occasionally though rarely occur. 
In them the young are more or less spotted with a lighter shade, and 
these exceptional cases, if rightly understood, do but confirm the rule.^ 

^ Dr. Stejneger {Stand. Nat. Hist. iv. p. 482) considers that Parker himself has 
' ' partly neutralized, not to say gainsaid " this opinion, citing a passage from the 
same paper {torn. cit. p. 304) wherein is the assertion that the Redstart, Phcenicura 
ruticilla, and its allies, which of course come near the Tlirushes, " are of the highest 
and purest blood, " with more to like effect. But Dr. Stejneger has overlooked the 
qualifying words "of the small Passerines " at the beginning of the paragraph, whicli 
makes all the difference, seeing that the Corvi(hv are the largest of them. Moreover, 
the drift of the whole passage shews that Parker was therein using the word 
"'Oscines,' or songsters," in its literal and not its technical sense. No one knows 
better than Dr. Stejneger that Crows are not exactly song-birds. 

" It is curious to remarlc, not that it can affect my argument, that this was also 
tlie opinion of the Quinarians {cf. Swainson, in 1834, Discourse on the Study of Xal. 
Hist. p. 262, and in 1835, Treatise on the Georjr. and Classific. of Animals, p. 243). 

^ One of these specimens has been figured by Hancock {N. II. Trans. Northu7nb. 
and Durham, vi. pi. 3) ; see also Yarrell's British Birds, ed. 4, ii. pp. 302, 303. 


It may be conceded that even among Oscines ^ there are some other groups 
or sections of groups in which the transformation in ajopearance from 
youth to full age is as slight. This is so among the Paridse ; and there 
are a few groups in which the young, prior to the first moult, may be 
more brightly tinted than afterwards, as in the genera Phylloscopus and 
^liithus. These anomalies cannot be explained as yet, but we see that 
they do not extend to more than a portion, and generally a small portion, 
of the groups in which they occur ; whereas in the Crows the likeness 
between young and old is, so far as is known, common to almost every 
member of the Family.^ It is therefore confidently that the present 
writer asserts, as Prof. Parker, with far more right to speak on the 
subject, has already done, that at the head of the Class Aves must stand 
the Family Gorvidse, of which Family no one will dispute the superiority 
of the genus Corvus, nor in that genus the pre-eminence of Corvus 
corax—the widely-ranging Raven of the Northern Hemisphere, the Bird 
perhaps best known from the most ancient times, and, as it happens, that 
to which belongs the earliest historical association with man. There are 
of course innumerable points in regard to the Classification of Birds 
which are, and for a long time will continue to be, hypothetical as matters 
of opinion, but this one seems to stand a fact on the firm ground of proof.^ 
A perusal of the foregoing can hardly fail to confirm the doubts 
already expressed in the initial ' Note ' (page vii.) as to the validity of 
anj' Systematic Arrangement of Birds as yet put forth. Still the history 
of Ornithology, as here sketched, gives hope of the ultimate attainment 
of the object sought by so many earnest students of the Science, though 
a long time may yet elapse before that end is reached. As in all branches 
of Zoology accession of knowledge, be it the making of a new discovery 
or the solution of an old difficulty, is followed by, or may almost be said 
to produce, a fresh series of cj^uestions of a kind that it is absolutely 
impossible to anticipate, and it needs only the application of experi- 
ence to foresee that this is likely to continue. But slow as is the process 
of eliminating error, it is certain that, notwithstanding occasional relapses, 
considerable advance has been made in the right direction. It is even 
possible that progress will be accelerated by some unexpected turn of 

^ In other Orders there are many, for instance some Humming-birds and King- 
fishers ; but this only seems to shew the excellence in those Orders attained by the 
forms which enjoy the privilege. 

^ The Canada Jay, Dysornithia canadensis, as rightly noted by Dr. Stejneger 
(torn. cit. p. 483), is apparently the only exception, and I do not attempt to account 
for it. 

^ Dr. Stejneger (loc. cit.) would prefer with Sundevall, who certainly was not 
affected by morphological considerations, placing the Finches, Fringillidse, at the 
head of the Passeres, and selects as his example the Evening Grosbeak, Hesperi^jhona 
xesjjertina, of North America to demonstrate his position. That the Finches stand 
high I readily admit, but I fail to appreciate the force of the argument he adduces. 
Among other things he declares that in them "the plumage of the young is essentially 
lilie that of the adults" — a statement which will hardly be accepted by most ornitho- 
logists, and especially not so far as I can judge {cf. Audubon, B. Am. iii. pi. 207) in 
the example of his choice, which seems to be rather an unhappy one, seeing that in 
its immature plumage it differs so much from the adult as to have been described by 
a fairly good authority (Lesson, Illustr. Zool. pi. xxxi. ) as a distinct species under the 
name of Coccothraustes bonapartii. 


researcli. To that, however, we must not trust, but our duty is to proceed 
steadily along the path that seems the straightest, making sure of every 
step as we go. In this way we may be confident that the end, however 
distant,' will eventually arrive. The triple alliance of Morphology, 
Palaeontology and Geographical Distribution — when this last is rightly 
understood — can be trusted to keep our steps from wandering and to guide 
us to the goal we seek so far as the genealogy and relations of the several 
groups of Birds are concerned, for that is what their true Classification 
means. But Ornithology consists of much more than even a perfect 
Taxonomy, the field of investigation is much wider, and includes subjects 
that unfortunately have been too little considered by the higher intellects, 
especially of late years. Though there is no fear of Morphology or 
Palgeontology failing to be attractive, the real lessons conveyed by the 
facts of Geographical Distribution have been greatly neglected, while to 
name only two other subjects of which our ignorance immeasurably 
exceeds our knowledge. Migration and Variation still afford mysteries 
that have scarcely been penetrated. Hybridism too, which will probably 
lead to very important results, has never been investigated by a scientific 
Ornithorogist. There is therefore plenty of room for research, observa- 
tion and experiment, so that no honest enquirer in any branch of the 
study need feel discouraged by the prospect before him, unless indeed he 
be dismayed by the very vastness of the unknown regions he has to 


^LIAN, 3, 5 

Albarda, 4I 
Albertus Magnus, 4 
Albin, 9 
Akkovandus, 6 
Allen, 38 
Alston, 44 
Altum, 39 
Andrews, 106, 108, 

Aristotle, 3, 5 
Aubert, 2 
Audebert, 23 
Audubon, 24, 25, 37 

60, 66, 67, 119 
Avicenna, 4 

Babington, 45 
Backhouse, 38 
Baillon, 40 
BaUly, 40 
Baird, 37, 38 
Baldamus, 17, 39 
Baring-Gould, 38 
Barraband, 23 
Barrere, 5 

Barrington, 19, 44 
Barrows, 98 
Bartlielemy-Lapom - 

meraye, 4O 
Bartholini, I4 
Bartlett, 61 
Bartram, IS 
Bechstein, 12, 17, 39 
Beddard, 91 
Behn, 8 
Beilby, 20 
Bell, Jeffrey, 69 
Bell, Thomas, 19, 20 
Belon, 5, 6, 9 
Bendire, 37, 78 
Bennett, 19, 36 
Benoist, 40 

Berkenhout, 18 
Berlepsch, 39 
Bernini, 17 
Bertkold, 55 
Beseke, 17 
Bewick, 20, 29, 43 
Bexon, 10 
Bla.mvme,15, 30,34, 

49, 51, 52, 54, 69 
Blake-Knox, 44 
Blancbard, 75, 76 
Blandin, 40 
Blanford, 36 
Blasius, G. I4 
Blasins, J. H. 17,39, 

62, 67, 68, 70, 115 
Blasius, R. 39 
Blasius, W. 39 
Blauw, 4i 
Blomefleld, 43 
B]yth, 19, 36, 60,61, 

64, 68, 116 
Bocage, Barboza du, 

Bochart, 6 
Boddaert, 13 
BoUe, 39 
Bolton, 19 
Bonaparte, 30, 37, 

41, 73, 74, 103 
Bonnaterre, 12 
Bontius, 7 
Booth, 44 
Borggreve, 39 
Borkhausen, 17 
Borlase, 18 
Borrer, 4^ 
Borrichius, I4 
Bostock, 3 
Bourjot St.-Hilaire, 

Bouteille, 4O 
Bradshaw, 4 
Brandt, A. 39 
Brandt, J. F. 61, 

62, 96, 111 

Bree, 4^ 

Erehm, A. E. 39, 4O 
Brehm, C. L. 39 
Breidenbach, 4 
Brewer, 37 
Brisson, 9, 10, 11, 13 
Bronu, I4 
Bro'wn, Peter, 12 
Browne, Capt. T. 30 
Browne, Sir T. 18 
Brtinnich, 17 
Bucldey, E. 7 
Buckley, T. E. 44 
Btittiliofer, 4I 
BufFon, 10 11, 12, 

BuUer, 35 
Bumm, 116 
Bund, 45 
Bureau, 40 
Burmeister, 63, 64, 


Cabanis, 36, 39, 70, 
71, 72, 73, 94, 115 
Caius, 5 
Campbell, 36 
Canivet, 4O 
Carter, 38 
Carus, 14, 106, 107 
Cassin, 24, 37, 38 
Castelnau, 74 
Catesby, 8 
Caub, 4 
Cetti, 17 
Chambers, 78 
Chapman, Abel, 40 
Chapman, F. M. 38 
Charleton, 7 
Chesnon, 40 
ChUd, 13 
Christy, 44i 45 
Clarke, Joseph, 4^ 
Clarke, W. E. 38, 45 
Claus, 107 

Clusius, 7 

Cocks, 38 

Goiter, 6, U 

CoUett, 38 

Collin, 38 

Collins, 16 

Cook, 16 

Cordeaux, 45 

Cornay, 69, 70, 84 

Cory, 37 

Cones, 19, 37, 45, 60 

Cousens, 25 

Coxe, 42 

Crespon, 4O 

Cresswell, 3 

Crommelin, 4I 

Cuba, 4 

Cuvier, 3, I4, 15, 29, 
46, 51, 53, 54, 55, 
56, 58, 59, 66, 70, 

Dalgleish, 44 

Dallas, 66 

Darwm, 78, 81, 86, 

Daudm, I4 
D. B., 9 
D'Aubenton, 10, 12, 

Degland, 40, 4I 
Demarle, 4O 
Denny, 63 
Derby, Lord, 12 
Derham, 7 
Desmarest, 23 
Des Murs, 27, 42, 77 
D'Urban, 45 
Devis, 36 
Dieffenbach, 35 
Diggles, 35 
Dillwyn, 45 
Donovan, 19 
Dover, Lady, 20 
Dresser, 4I 


Droste, 39 

Dubois, Alph. If.!, 

Dubois, C. F. 41' 
Du Bus, 27 
Dumeril, 29, 110 
Dupree, 19 
Du Verney, 1^ 

Edwards, 5, 10 
Elliot, 24, 37, 98 
Ellis, 16 
Ersch, 64 

Evans, A. H. 99, 102 
Evans, W. 44 
Eyton, 35, 43, 76 

Faber, 38 
Fabricius, 18 
Falk, 15 
Fallopius, S 
Fatio, 39 
FeUden, 38 
Fernandez, 7 
rinscb, 30, 39 
Fischer de Wald- 

beim, 31 
Fiscber, J. B. 17 
Fleming, 33, 43 
Florent-Provost, 23 
Flower, 104 
Forbes, 90, 91, 92, 

93, 94, 95, 115 
Forskal, 15 
Forster, G. 16 
Forster, J. K. 16, 18 
Fotbergill, 18 
Fraser, 25 
Friscb, J. L. 16 
Fritscb, A. 41 
Fiirbringer, 98, 100, 


111, 113, 114 

Gadow, 55, 68, 74, 

98, 99, 102, 103, 


113, 114 
Gatke, 39, 42 
Garrod, 90, 91, 92, 

93, 94, 95, 115, 
Gaza, 3 
Gentil, 40 
Geoflroy St. -Hilaire, 

± 34, 46, 52, 55, 

56, 58, 59 
Geoffroy St. -Hilaire, 

I. 28, 58 

Georgi, 15 
Gerini, 10 
Gervais, 74 
Gesner, 5, 6 
Giebel, 31 
Giglioli, 39 
Gilius, 17 
Gill, 108 
Giraud, 38 
Gloger, 39, 51, 56, 

Gmelin, J. F. 13 
Gmeliu, J. G. 15 
Gmelin, S, G. 15 
Gosse, 36 
Gould, 24, 25, 28, 

35, 41, 44, 64 
Graudidier, II4 
Grandsagne, 3 
Graves, 4^ 
Gray, G. R. 30, 31, 

Gray, J. E. 15, 24 
Gray, R. 44 
Griffiths, 15 
Groot, 4 
Grossiuger, 16 
Gruber, 64 
Giildenstadt, 15 
Gundlach, 37 
Gunnerus, 18 
Gurney, sen. 10 

Haast, 35 
Hackel, 81, 90, 107, 

Hancock, 20, 45, 

Hanmer, 18 
Hardwicke, 24 
Hardy, 40 
Harting, 19, 45 
Hartlaub, 39, 4O 
Harvey, I4 
Harvie - Brown, 4^1 


Hasselqvist, 15 
Hayes, 13, 18 
Headley, 103 
Hector, 35 
Heine, jun. 73 
Heine, sen. 73 
Henslow, 4^ 
Herbert, 19 
Hermann, 12 
Hernandez, 7 
Hertwig, 107 
Heysham, 19 
Hintz, 39 
Hogg, 74 

Holland, 3 
Holmgren, 39 
Homeyer, A. von, 

Homeyer, E. von, 

Houghton, 2 
Houttuvn, n 
Huet, 26 
Hume, 36 
Hunt, 42 
Hunter, 16, 63 
Hutchins, 19 
Huxley, 82, 84, 85, 

95, 102, 103, 106, 


113, 114 

Illiger, 29, 63, 59, 
62, 74, 102, 110, 

Irby, 40 

Isidorus, 4 

Jacobson, 50 
Jacquemin, 65, 69 
Jacquin, 13 
Jiickel, 39 
Jameson, H. L. 44 
Jameson, R. 37 
Jardine, 19, 27, 37. 

Jaubert, 4O 
Jentink, 4I 
Jenyns, 43 
Jerdon, 36 
Jonston, 6 

Kalm, 15 
Kaup, 30, 34 
Kelaart, 36 
Kessler, 66 
Keulemans, 28, 35, 

36, 42, 44 
Kevserliug, 62, 67, 

68, 70, 115 
Kinberg, 39 
Kingsley, 98 
Kirby, 33, 50, 59 
Kittlitz, 28 
Kjrerbolling, 39 
Klein, <S' 
Knip, 23 
Knox, 45 
Koch, 39 
Konig - Warthausen, 

Kramer, 17 

Kriiper, 38, 39, 40 
Kutter, 39 

Labatie, 40 
Lacepede, I4 
Lamarck, 78 
Land, 4 
Landbeck, 39 
Landois, 39 
Landseer, 63 
Langlois, 23 
Latham, 11, 12, 13, 

Latreille, 30 
Laugier, 26 
Lawrence, 38 
Leach, 13 
Lear, 24 
Leem, 18 
Legge, 36 
L'Herminier, 34, 49, 

51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 

66, 58, 59, 61, 69, 

Leigh, 18 
Leisler, 39 
Lembeye, 37 
Lemetteil, 4O 
Lemonnicier, 4O 
Leon, 7 
Leotaud, 36 
Lepechin, 15 
Lesauvage, 4O 
Lesson, 28, 119 
Le Vaillant, 16, 22, 

Lever, 12 
Leverkiilm, 39 
Lewin, J. W. 35 
Lewin, W. 19 
Lichtenstein, 7 
Lilford, 40, 44, 45 
Lilljeborg, 82 
LinuEEus, 3, 7, 8, 9, 

10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 

34, 47, 69, 62 
Lottie, 2 
Longolius, 5 
Lord, 19 
Lumsden, 44 

;\LVCARTNET, 34, 63 

Macgillivray, 24, 34, 
43, 59, 60, 66, 67, 

M'llwraithe, 38 

Macleay, 32, 33, 34, 

Macjiherson, !i5 



Mais;uon, If-O 
Maltzau, 39 
Marcgrave, 7 
Marcotte, Jfi 
JIariette, 2 
Mark-ivick, 19 
Marsh, S6, 57, 97, 

9S, 108 
Marsigli, 15 
Martinet, 10, 26 
Mathew, 43 
Mauduyt, 13 
Max zu Wied, 39 
Meckel, 50 
Merrem, 30, 34, 46, 

47, 48, 49, 50, 52, 

64, 76 
Merrett, 7, 18 
Meyer, A. B. 28, 39, 

Meyer, Bern. 39 
Meyer, F. A. A. 20 
Meyer, H. L. 43 
Mever, H. von, 81 
Milne-Edwards, 86, 

102, 112, 113, 

Mitchell, F. S. 45 
Mitcliell, W. D. 26, 

Mitterpacher, 15 
Mivart, 11, 103 
Moliring, 5 
Molina, 16 
Mommseu, 4O 
Montagu, 33, 42 
Montbeillard, 10 
More, 44 
Morris, 44 
Miible, Von der, 39 
Miiller, H. C. 38 
Miiller, Johannes, 

34, 62, 67, 68, 69, 

70, 71, 93 
Miiller, P. L. S. 13 
Muirhead, 44 
Murie, 91 

Nash, 18 
Nathusius, 39 
Naiimann, J. A. 17, 

Naumann, J. P. 17, 

39, 50, 51, 57 
Neale, 42 
Neckam, 4 
Nehrkorn, 39 
Neumann, 39 
Newman, 42, 74 
Nicholson, 89 

Niebuhr, 15 

Nieremberg, 7, 31 

Nilsson, 39 

Xitzsch, 34, 45, 46, 
48, 50, 51, 54, 57, 
61, 62, 63, 84, 65, 
66, 67, 68, 69, 71, 
96, 112 

Nodder, 13 

Norguet, 40 

North, 36 

Nourry, 4O 

Nozeman, 17 

Nuttall, 38 

Gates, 36 
Oken, 33, 57 
Olphe-Galliard, 42 
Ortus Sanitatis, 4 
Osbeck, 15 
Oudart, 26, 27 
Owen, 50, 59, 63, 81, 
102, 107 

Pallas, 15 

Paquet, 4O 

Parker, T. J. 109 

Parker, W. K. 79, 
80, 84, 111. 112, 
113, 115, 118, 119 

Paterson, 44 

Pearson, C. E. 38 

Pearson, H. J. 38 

Pelzeln, 39 

Pennant, 12, 18, 19 

Perrault, I4 

Petersen, 17 

Petiver, 7 

Phillip, 16 

Physiologus, 4 

Pidgeon, 15 

Pidsley, 45 

Pilati, 17 

Filler, 15 

Piso, 7 

Pliny, 3, 5 

Plot, 18 

Poey, 37 

Potts, 35 

Poynting, 78 

Pretre, 26, 28 

Prevot, 27 

"Qu^pat," 40 

Rafinesque, <S 
Ramsay, 36 

Ranzaui, 29 
Ray, 7, 11 
Reaumur, 9 
Reichenbach, 28, 39 
Reichenow, 39, 73, 

Reinhardt, 80 
Rennie, 33, 42 
Retzius, 17 
Reyger, 8 
Richardson, 38 
Ridgway, 37 
Riley, 3 
Risso, 40 
Rodd, 45 
Rosenstock, ^f 
Roux, 40 
Rowley, 27 
Rzaczynski, 16 

St.-Hilaiee, see 

Bourjot, and 

Salerne, 10 
Salvador!, 39 
Salvin, 27, 95 
Saunders, 4O, 43 
Savi, 10, 39 
Scaliger, 3 
Schaffer, 12 
Schalow, 39 
Schlegel, 30, 4I 
Schopss, 50 
Schomburgk, 36 
Schweuckfeld, 6 
Sclater, 26, 27, 35, 

65, 69, 95, 96, 97, 

112, 115 
Scopoli, 13 
Seba, 9 
Seebohm, 44, 103, 

Seeley, 107 
Selby, 27, 4^ 
Selenka, I4 
Selys - Longchamps, 

Service, 24, 44- 
Sharpe, 25, 35, 4I, 

99, 102, 103 
Shaw, 12, 13, 29, 35 
Shellev, 36, 40 
Shepherd, 38 
Sherborn, 27, 40 
Siemssen, 17 
Sillig, 3 
Slater, 38 
Sloane, 9 
Smit, 27 
Smith. A. C. 40. 45 

Smith, Cecil, 45 
Southwell, 45 
Spalowsky, 13 
Sparrman, 13 
Stanley, Lord, 12 
Stearns, 37 
Stejneger, 98, 99, 

100, 103, 108, 

118, 119 
Stephens, 29 
Sterland, 45 
Stevenson, 45 
Stirling, 109 
Stolker, 39 
Strickland, 30, 34, 

Studer, 39 
Sundevall, 2, 39, 57, 

65, 82, 88, 89, 90, 

94, 96, 115, 119 
Susemihl, 4I 
Swainson, 28, 30, 

33, 34, 35, 38, 

Swann, 45 

Tasle, 40 
Taylor, 3 
Tegetmeier, 13 
Temminck, A. J. 23 
Temminck, C. J. 23, 

26, 29,41,51,54, 

Thackeray, 5 
Thaun, 4 
Thompson, 44 
Thorburn, 44 
Tiedemaun, 4O, 116 
Tobias, 39 
Todd, 50, 59 
Tristram, 4O, 79 
Tschusi von Schmid- 

hofen, 39 
Tucker, 44 
Tunstall, 18 
Turner, H. N. 25 
Turner, W. 5 


Valentini, 14 
Vieillot, 23, 27, 29 

Vigors, 30, 32, 33 

35, 60, 74 
Vogt, 107 
Voigt, 4-^ 



Waglee, 30, 50 
Wagner, A. 23, 71, 

Wagner, R. 51 
Walcott, 19 
Wallace, 76, 78, 

Warren, 44 
Waterhouse, 25 

Waterton, 36 
Whitaker, 45 
White, Gilbert, 19, 

20, 44 
White, John, 16 
Whitlock, 45 
Wilkin, 18 
Willughljy, 7, 11, 

49, 60 

Wilson, Alexander, 

Wilson, James, 

Wimmer, 2 
Wolf, Johann, 39 
Wolf, Joseph, 25, 

30, 63 
WoUey, 38 

Wotton, 5 
Wright, 4, 5 

Yarrell, 43, 68, 

Zander, 39 
Zorn, 16 








B.A., F.G.S. M.A., F.E.S. 



(late united states' army) 




[The sheets of this Part were passed for the Press at various times 
from 1889 onivards.'] 


Those who may look into this book are warned that they will 
not find a complete treatise on Ornithology, any more than an 
attempt to include in it all the names under which Birds, even 
the commonest, are known. Taking as its foundation a series 
of articles contributed to the ninth edition of the ' Encyclo- 
paidia Britannica,' I have tried, first, to modify them into 
something like continuity, so far as an alphabetical arrange- 
ment will admit; and, next, to supplement them by the 
intercalation of a much greater number, be they short or long, 
to serve the same end. Of these additions by far the most 
important are those furnished by my fellow-worker Dr. Gadow, 
which bring the anatomical portion to a level hitherto un- 
attained, I believe, in any book that has appeared. For other 
contributions of not less value in their respective lines, I have 
to thank my old pupil Mr. Lydekker, my learned colleague 
Professor EoT, and my esteemed correspondent Dr. Shufeldt, 
formerly of the United States' Army. Dr. Gadow's articles 
are distinguished by their title being printed in Italic type : 
those of the other contributors bear their author's name at the 

For my own part I have to say that, in the difficult task 
of choosing the subjects for additional articles, one of my main 
objects has been to supply information which I know, from 


enquiries often made of me, to be greatly needed. Eeaders 
who in most respects are certainly not ignorant of things in 
general, frequently find in works of all sorts, but especially 
in books of travel, mention of Birds by names which no 
ordinary dictionary will explain ; and, on meeting with a 
Caracara, a Koel or a Paauw, a Leatlierhead, a Mollymawk 
or a Tom-fool, are at a loss to know what kind of bird is 
intended by the author. On the other hand I have not 
thought it necessary to include many names, compounded 
(mostly of late years) by writers on ornithology, which have never 
come nor are likely to come into common use — such as Crow- 
SJirike, Crow -Titmouse, Shrike -C^vw, Shrike- Titmouse, Thrush- 
Titmouse, Titmouse- Tlirush, Jay-Thrush and the like. Happily 
these clumsy inventions are seldom found but in technical 
works, where their meaning, if they have one that is definite, 
is at once made evident. Their introduction into the present 
volume would merely swell its bulk with little if any com- 
pensating good. On this account I have also kept out a vast 
number of local names even of British Birds, which could have 
been easily inserted, though preserving most of those that 
have found their way into some sort of literature, ranging 
from an epic poem to an act of parliament ; but I confess to 
much regret in being compelled to exclude them, because the 
subject is one of great interest, and has never been properly 
treated. It will thus be seen that my selection of names to 
be inserted is quite arbitrary. I have tried to make it tend to 
utility, and whether I have succeeded, those who consult the 
volume will judge. 

Thanks to the complaisance of Messrs. Longman and 
Company I have been able to acquire electrotypes of a con- 
siderable number of the woodcuts which illustrated Swaiuson's 

NOTE vii 

' Classification of Birds.' These figures were drawn by that 
admirable ornithological delineator, and most of them for truth 
of detail or beauty of design have seldom been equalled and 
rarely surpassed. I am also indebted to the kindness of Sir 
Walter Buller, K.C.M.G., F.R.S., for the use of electrotypes of 
woodcuts executed for his ' Birds of New Zealand,' as well as 
to the Publication Committee of the Zoological Society of 
London, to the Trustees of the British Museum, and to Dr. 
William Francis and Mr. Maxwell Masters, F.RS., for their 
consent to the reproduction of other figures, which will be 
found duly acknowledged in the following pages. 

Lastly, I would say that the alphabetical order has been 
deliberately adopted in preference to the taxonomic because I 
entertain grave doubt of the validity of any systematic arrange- 
ment as yet put forth, some of the later attempts being in my 
opinion among the most fallacious, and a good deal worse than 
those they are intended to supersede. That in a few directions 
an approach to improvement has been made is not to be denied ; 
but how far that approach goes is uncertain. I only see that 
mistakes are easily made, and I have no wish to mislead others 
by an assertion of knowledge which I know no one to possess ; 
yet with all these drawbacks and shortcomings I trust that this 
Dictionary will aid a few who wish to study Ornithology in a 
scientific spirit, as well as many who merely regard its pursuit 
as a pastime, while I even dare indulge the hope that persons 
indifferent to the pleasures of Natural History, except when 
highly -coloured pictures are presented to them by popular 
writers, may find in it some corrective to the erroneous impres- 
sions commonly conveyed by sciolists posing as instructors. 

A. N. 

Cambridge, Mwrch 1893. 

^Vhere a word is introduced iri small capitals, without apparent necessity, further 
information concerning it may be sought for under that word in its alphabetical 


AASVOGEL (Carrion-bird), the name given to some of the larger 
Vultures by the Dutch colonists in South Africa, and generally 
adopted by English residents (Layard, B. S. Africa, pjj. 5, 6). 

ABADAVINE or ABERDUVINE (etymology and spelling 
doubtful), a name applied in 1735 by Albin {Suppl. Nat. Hist. B. 
p. 71) to the Siskin, but perhaps hardly ever in use, though often 
quoted as if it were. 

ACANTHIZA, the scientific name given in 1826 by Vigors and 
Horsfield to a genus of birds commonly ranked with the Sylviiclse 
(Warbler), and used as English since Gould's time for the eight 
or more species which inhabit Australia. 

ACCENTOR, Bechstein's name for a genus of Sylviidse (including 
the Hedge-SPARROW and its allies) which some British authors have 
tried with small success to add to the English language. 

ACCIPITEES, the name given by Linnseus to his first Order of 
the Class Aves, consisting of what are commonly known as Birds-of- 
Prey, namely, the Vultures, the Eagles and Hawks, and the Owls ; 
the last being by many recent authors, whose example is followed 
in the present work, separated from the first two. 

ACORN-DUCK, a name given in some parts of North America 
to the Carolina or Wood-Duck, ^x sponsa. 

ACROMYODI, Garrod's name (Proc. Zool. Soc. 1876, p. 507) 
for a group of birds practically the same as the OsciNES, PoLY- 
SIYODI or true Passeres of various authors, "an acromyodian 
bird, being one in which the muscles of the SYRINX are attached to 
the extremities of the bronchial semi-rings." The Acromyodi are 
further divided into two groups, one (abnormales or Pseudoscines) 
consisting of, so far as is known, only the genera Atrichia (Scrub- 


bird) and Menura (Lyre-BIRd), the other (novmales) containing 
all the rest of the OsciNES. 

ADJUTAJSIT, a large kind of Stork, so called by the English 
in India and elsewhere " from its comical resemblance to a human 
figure in a stiff dress pacing slowly on a parade-ground " (Yule & 
Burnell, Hohson-Jobson, sub voce). It belongs to the genus Leptoptihis, 
of which the members are distinguished by their sad-coloured 
plumage, their black, scabrous head, and their enormous taAvny 
pouch, which depends, occasionally some 16 inches or more in 
length, from the lower part of the neck, and is not connected as 
commonly believed with the digestive system (see AlR-SACKS). In 
many parts of India L. duhius, or L. argala of some authors, the 
largest of these birds, the Harglla as Hindus call it, is a most 
efficient scavenger, sailing aloft at a vast height and descending on 
the discovery of ofFal, though frogs and fishes also form part of its 
diet. It familiarly enters the large towns, in many of which on 
account of its ser^dces it is strictly protected from injury, and, 
having satisfied its appetite, seeks the repose it has earned, sitting 
with its feet extended in front in a most grotesque attitude. A 
second and smaller species, L. javanicus, has a more southern and 
eastern range ; while a third, L. crumenifer, of African origin, and 
often known as the Marabou-Stork, gives its name to the beautifully 
soft feathers so called, though our markets are mostly supplied with 
them by the Indian species (in which they form the lower tail- 
coverts), if not, as some suppose, by Vultures. Eelated to the 
Adjutants are the birds known as Jabirus. 

^GITHOGNATH^, the fourth and last Suborder of Car- 
INAT^, according to Prof. Huxley's arrangement {Proc. Zool. Soc. 
1867, -pV- 450-456, 467-472), founded chiefly on palatal characters, 
containing two groups, the Cypselomorph^ and Coracomorph.e, 
and possibly a third, the Celeomorph^ (or Gecinomorphai). In 
the true segithognathous structure the vomer is broad, abruptly 
truncated in front and deeply cleft behind, so as to embrace the 
rostrum of the sphenoid ; the palatals have produced postero- 
external angles, the maxillo -palatals are slender at their origin, 
and extend obliquely inwards and backwards over the palatals, ending 
beneath the vomer in expanded extremities, not united either 
with one another or with the vomer, nor is the last united with the 
ossification of the anterior part of the nasal septum — a not un- 
common condition. As a whole the JEgithognatJm correspond 
pretty well with the Insessores of Vigors. 

AETOMORPH^, Prof. Huxley's name (Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, 
]^p. 462-465) for that group of his Suborder Desmognatit/E, which 
includes the Birds-of-Prcy, commonly so called, and therefore 
practically equivalent to the AcciPlTRES of Linni\3us and the Pap- 



TORES of many authors. Prof. Huxley makes four divisions of the 
Aetomorphic birds, namely, Strigidx (Owls), Cathartidm (Vultures 
of the NeAv World), Gypaetidw (Vultures of the Old World, 
Eagles and Hawks), and Gyjoogeranidm (formed by the Secretary- 
bird alone).. 

AFTEBSHAFT or hyporhachis is the generally small counter- 
part of a typical feather which springs from the inner surface of 
the quill common to both. The aftershaft is of the same size as 
the shaft in the Cassowary, Emeu, and in the Moa : it is well 
developed, but forms an unimportant part of the whole feather in 
Parrots, most Birds-of-Prey, Herons, Gulls : it is very small and feeble 
in most Fasseres, Gh'allx, and many Gallinge ; and absent or extremely 
small in the Ostrich, Rhea, Kiwi, Pigeons, Owls, Woodpeckers, 
Steganopodes, Anseres, and others. As a rule, the aftershaft is best 
developed in downs, and in the smaller contour-feathers, while it 
is wanting or minute in the remiges and rectrices. While the 
absence of an aftershaft is certainly due to its subsequent reduction 
or loss, it is probable that its great size in the Emeu is not a 
primitive but a secondary acquired feature, because the feathers of 
the first or nestling plumage of this bird consist of two very unequal 
halves (see also Feathers). 

AIE-SACKS (or Sacs) are membranaceous receptacles which 
communicate with the cavities of the respiratory organs or passages, 
and can through them be filled with air. According to their 
connexions we distinguish between a (I) pulmonary and (11) a naso- 
pharyngeal system of air-sacs. 

I. The pulmonary system has the widest distribution in the 
bird's body. The sacs, of which there are generally five large 
pairs, begin in the embryo of about eleven days to grow out as 
small vesicles from the surface of the lungs, as dilatations of 
branches of the bronchial tubes, pushing the peritoneal membranes 
before them, and gradually extending as enlarged sacs into the body 
caAdty between the various intestines. Each sac has an inner layer, 
the continuation of the lining membrane of the bronchial tubes, and 
an outer layer or serous membrane, Avhich is the bulged-out pleura 
or peritoneal covering of the lung. The pulmonary openings are 
beset with vibrating cilise like the bronchi. The outside of the sacs 
frequently possesses a covering of involuntary or of voluntary 
muscles ; for instance, in Vultures, Gannets, and Flamingos a thin 
fan-shaped muscle extends from the furcula over the interclavicular 
air-sac. Through contraction of these muscles the cells can be 
emptied of air. The five principal pairs of air-sacs are : — 

1. A prebronchial or cervical pair, situated in front of or " head- 
wards " from the lungs and the pulmonary system. They are sub- 
jected to many modifications. They form on each side a single sac 


in the Duck, which in the Fowls, Gulls, Gannets, and some others, 
communicates with the next pair. In the Stork, Flamingo, and 
Screamer each sac is elongated and divided into numerous smaller 
cells. Frequently these sacs extend far up the neck, even into the 
head, and small side branches may enter any of the neighbouring 
organs, such as the inside of the vertebrae, the carotid and vertebral 
canals, the cervical muscles, the cranial cavities, and others. Some- 
times they form large inflatable sacs on the throat, as, for instance, 
in the Prairie-fowls. 

2. A pair of subbronchial or interclavicular sacs. They are 
united into one sac in Storks, communicate with each other in Ducks, 
are subdivided into a number of smaller sacs in the Swan and in the 
Screamer : in Vultures they take the large crop between them. 
Lateral extensions accompany the large blood-vessels and form axil- 
lary cells penetrating ultimately the humerus and other bones of the 
wing ; other secondary cells jjenetrate the large pectoral muscles 
(e.g. in Myderia) or enter the body and the keel of the sternum. 

3, 4. A pair of anterior and posterior intermediate sacs, 
extending more or less far into the abdominal cavity, covering 
chiefly the loAver portions of the lungs and the liver, occasionally 
subdivided, being filled through several openings at the external 
edge of the lungs, and sometimes continued into the lateral parts of 
the sternum. 

5. A pair of abdominal sacs. These are the largest, extend- 
ing with irregular subdivisions between the intestines into the 
pelvis, and penetrating the femur together with the rest of the bones 
of the sacrum, and the legs. 

Besides these principal air-sacs, there exist numerous smaller 
cells, which enter more or less directly from the lungs into the 
vertebrae and ribs, between the muscles, underneath the skin and 
other parts, thus making the skeleton, and sometimes the greater 
part of the body, pneumatic. The air-sacs do not enter the bones 
laefore a considerable portion of the marrow has been absorbed , 
an extremely small hole in the bone is sufficient for their entrance ; 
the cavity of hollow bones is ultimately lined with the thin mem- 
brane of the air-sac. Generally the skeleton is most pneumatic in 
large birds that fly well, like Vultures, Storks, Swans, Pelicans ; 
less so in small birds, and least in heavy or little-flying water-birds. 
HoAvevcr, there are many exceptions. While, for instance, most 
of the bones of many Passeres, of Swifts, Divers, Eails, the Kiwi, 
and of Terns, are solid, and air-cells arc restricted chiefly to the 
cranium, many parts of the skeleton of the large Itatifa' are very 

The greatest dcvclo})mcut of pneumatic cells exists in the 
Screamers and Hornbills, in which even the fingers and toes, in fact, 
any part of the skeleton, arc hollow, and large subcutaneous air-sacs 


are present in great numbers between the muscles and the roots of 
the feathers. These birds when inflated and pricked emit a 
peculiar hissing noise through the skin. It is well known that a 
bird which has its humerus shattered by shot can for some time 
breathe, although its beak and nostrils be tightly closed, and thus 
be submitted to unnecessary excruciating pain. Compression of 
the thorax and abdomen suftbcates a wounded bird better than 

11. The naso-pharyngeal or tympanic system of air -sacs is 
restricted to the head, extending chiefly into the occipital, frontal, 
parietal, quadrate, and mandibular bones. To this system belong 
the Eustachian tubes (see Ear and Skull), the tympanic, and other 
cavities Avhich communicate mth the nose. The most curious 
dilatation belonging to this system is the crop-like pouch of the 
Adjutant. This sac communicates in Leptoptilus crumenifer with a 
large cavity below the orbit and the pterygoid bone on the left side 
of the basis cranii, opening directly into the nasal cavity and extend- 
ing like a hernia into a loose fold of integument, the pouch being 
di^dded into tAvo by a vertical membrane Avhich descends to the 
level of the eighth cervical A^ertebra. 

Another inflatable sac is the gular pouch of BUSTARDS. It seems 
to be developed only in adult males, reaching its greatest size 
during the breeding season, and again shrivelling up during the rest 
of the year. Its opening is a 1-shaped slit in front of the frenulum 
of the tongue and below this organ ; the opening can be closed by 
muscles, and leads into a large, giandless blind sac (about 8-10 inches 
long, with half the Avidth), Avhich is a dilatation of the frenulum 
and hangs doAvn betAveen the throat and the skin of the front of 
the neck. It seems to be an entirely sexual ornament, inflating the 
skin, and containing neither AA^ater nor food. 

A similar homologous structure exists in the male of Biziura 
lobata, as a little pouch betAveen the two halves of the frenulum, 
Avith a roundish opening, but apparently not extending into or 
inflating the outer cutaneous AA^attle or fold underneath the 

Lastly, the tracheal pouch of the Emeu may be mentioned. It 
is a large unpaired hernia-like sac of the tracheal Avails, communi- 
cating Avith the trachea through a longitudinal slit on the ventral 
side, an individually-varying number of from five to fourteen car- 
tilaginous rings being knoAvn to be deficient in the middle line. In 
the embryos this deficiency is already sheAvn, but the pouch is 
developed much later, and attains its full size in the adults of both 
sexes. This organ seems to act as a resounding bag to the peculiar 
drumming noise made by the adult birds. 

The function of all these air-sacs has been the subject of many 
controversies. Some are undoubtedly subservient to sexual orna- 


mental purposes, by inflating the skin, rustling the feathers, or 
acting as resounding bags in the Prairie-fowls and in the Emeu. 
The suggestion that the warm air in these sacs makes the bird 
lighter, and assists, balloon-like, the flight, is void of practical 
value, because the few grains of weight lifted up by the whole 
amount of air-sacs of even a large bird would be more than counter- 
balanced by a few grains of food or better-nourished condition of 
the bird. Xor Avould this view be applicable to the Ratitas, with 
their well -developed air-sacs. The newer researches of Sappey,^ 
Campana,^ and Strasser^ make it probable that one of the principal 
functions of the air-sacs consists in the ventilation of the lungs, the 
latter being only capable of very limited expansion and contraction 
in birds. No exchange of gas seems to take place in the sacs them- 
selves, they being poor in blood-vessels ; but they seem to be 
directly connected with the regulation of the exhalation of aqueous 
vapour, there being besides no perspiration through the skin. 
Frequently they serve also as reservoirs for air, in order to increase 
the voice ; for instance, in the long-continued song of the Nightingale, 
or still more so, in the Lark when warbling. 

ALBATROS, a corruption of the Spanish and Portuguese 
Alcatraz or Alcaduz * by which name the Pelican is known in some 
parts of the Iberian peninsula and the Spanish colonies in the West 
Indies ; but it is also applied vaguely to other large sea-birds. By 
English navigators its use was foi-merly quite as indiscriminate, 
and its spelling no less so, the forms Alcatraza, Alcatraze, Algatross, 
and Albitross, occurring in various authors — the last being that 
found in Shelvocke's Voyage (London: 1726), wherein (pp. 72, 73) 
is recorded the incident that, on Wordsworth's suggestion, Coleridge 
immortalized in his Ancient Manner. In process of time the name 
has become definitely limited to the larger species of Diomedeidsi,^ 
a family of the group Tuhinares, and especially to the largest species 
of the genus, Diomedea exulans, the " Man-of-war bird " or Wandering 

■'■ Gompt. Rend, dc VAcad. des Sciences, xxii. pp. 250, 508. 

' Physiologie de la respiration chez les Oiseai(,x. Paris : 1875. 

3 Jenaisclic Zeitschrift, xix. pp. 174-327, 330-429. 

^ The word is Arabic, al-cddous, adopted from the Greek Kd8os, Avater-pot 
or bucket (cf. Dozy & Engelmann, Glossaire des mots espagn. et poi'tug. derives de 
VArahe, ed. 2, p. 79), and especially signifying the leathern bucket of an irrigating 
machine. Thence it was applied to the Pelican, from the resemblance of that 
bird's pouch, in which it was believed to carry water to its young in the 

"^ The Aves Diomedc£B of Pliny (lib. x. cap. 44), whence the word has been 
preserved in Ornithology, inhabiting the islands of the same name, generally 
identified with Tremiti olf tlie Adriatic coast of Italy {cf. Lachmund, De Axe 
Diomedea dissertatio. Amstelodami : 1672, p. 23), seem to have been Shear- 
waters of some sort. 


Albatros of many authors. Of this, though it has been so long 
the observed of all observers among voyagers to the Southern 
Ocean, no one seems to have given, from the life, its finished portrait 
on the wing, and hardly such a description as would enable those who 
have not seen it to form an idea of its look. The diagrammatic 
sketch by Captain (now Professor) Hutton, here introduced, is prob- 

Albatros. (After Hutton. Prom the Philos. Mag. Aug. 1869, with the 
Editor's permission.) 

ably a more correct rejDresentation of it than can be found in the conven- 
tional figures which abound in books. Writers who apply to its flight 
the epithets graceful, grand, majestic, and the like, convey thereby 
no definite meaning, and yet by all accounts its appearance must 
be extremely characteristic. The ease with which it maintains itself 
in the air, " sailing " for a long while without any perceptible motion 
of its wings, whether gliding over the billows, or boldly shooting aloft 
again to descend and possibly alight on the surface, has been dwelt 
upon often enough, ■*■ as has its capacity to perform these feats equally 
in a seeming calm or in the face of a gale ; but more than this 
is wanted, and one must hope that a series of instantaneous photo- 
graphs may soon be obtained which will shew the feathered aeronaut 
with becoming dignity. The mode in Avhich the " sailing " of the 
Albatros is effected has been much discussed, but there can be little 
doubt that Professor Hutton is right in declaring (Ibis, 1865, p. 296) 
that it is only " by combining, according to the laws of mechanics, 

^ Tlie most vivid description is perhaps that of Mr. Froude {Oceana, pp. 65, 66), 
and, as it is cited with approval by Sir "VV. Bnller {B. Neio Zeal. ed. 2, ii. 
p. 195), a part may here be quoted. The Albatros "wheels in circles round and 
round, and for ever round the ship — now far behind, now sweeping past in a long 
rapid curve, like a perfect skater on an untouched field of ice. There is no effort ; 
watch as closely as you will, you rarely or never see a stroke of the mighty 
pinion. The flight is generally near the water, often close to it. You lose sight 
of the bird as he disappears in the hollow between the waves, and catch him again 
as he rises over the crest ; but how he rises and whence comes the propelling force 
is to the eye inexplicable ; he alters merely the angle at which the wings are 
inclined ; usually they are parallel to the water and horizontal ; but when 
he turns to ascend or makes a change in his direction the wings then point at an 
angle, one to the sky, the other to the water. " 


this pressure of the air against his wings with the force of gravity, 
and by using his head and tail as bow and stern rudders, that the 
Albatros is enabled to sail in any direction he pleases, so long as 
his momentum lasts." Much discrepancy, at present inexplicable, 
exists in the accounts given by various writers of the expanse of 
■\ving in this species. We may set aside as a gross exaggeration the 
assertion that examples have been obtained measuring 20 feet, but 
Dr. George Bennett of Sydney {Wanderings^ &c., ii. p. 363) states that 
he has " never seen the spread of the wings greater than fourteen 
feet." Recently Mr. J. F. Green (Ocean Birds, p. 5) says that, out of 
more than one hundred which he had caught and measured, the 
largest was 1 1 feet 4 inches from tip to tip, a statement exactly con- 
firmed, he adds, by the forty years' experience of a ship-captain who 
had always made a point of measuring these birds, and had never 
found one over that length. 

This Albatros is too well known by description in countless 
books, or by specimens to be seen in almost any museum, to need 
many words as to its chief features. In the adult the plumage of 
the body is white, more or less mottled above by fine wavy bars, 
and the quill-feathers of the "wings are brownish-black. The young 
are suffused with slaty -brown, the tint becoming lighter as the bird 
grows older. It is found throughout the Southern Ocean, seldom 
occurring northward of lat. 30° S.,^ and is invariably met with by 
ships that round the Cape of Good Hope or pass the Strait of 
Magellan. As a species it is said to be less numerous than most of 
its smaller congeners, and one cannot but fear that it will become 
rarer still, if not extinct, partly because of the senseless slaughter to 
which it is subjected by the occupants of almost every ship, but 
especially because of the ravages inflicted upon it at its not too many 
breeding-places, which are on islands mostly small and remote, where 
disastrous havoc can be, and continually is, wrought by a boat's crew 
in a few hours. 

In the North-Pacific Ocean are found two other large species of 
Albatros, regarded for a long time by ornithologists as identical 
A\dth D. exulans, but now recognized as being distinct species. 
They have also been confounded with one another by some authors, 
while the young have been described as if diff"erent from their 
parents, so that their nomenclature presents a tangled puzzle which 
it Avould be impossible here to unravel. Enough to say, that the 
one of them which is most like D. exulans, and has over and over 
again been so termed by authors, is the i). albafrus of Pallas, its 
young being the D. derogata of Swinhoe. This seems to be always 

^ Instances arc recorded of its occurrence in Europe and North America, and 
no doubt examples of some species of Albatros have wandered so far from their 
usual range ; but whether D. exulans is one of them seems to await proof. Fossil 
remains of Diomcdca have been found in Sull'olk {Q. J. Gcol. Soc. 1886, p. 3(57). 


distingui.sliable by its yellow or light-coloured legs, while the other, 
the B. hradiyura of Temminck, its young being the D. nigripes of 
Audubon, has those limbs dark or black. Both of them seem to 
occur in summer in Bering Sea, while they occasionally appeal 
along the shores of China and California ; but nothing can yet be said 
as to their precise range. It remains to mention the smaller species 
of the genus, one of Avhich, D. cauta, described by Gould, is not 
much inferior in size to the preceding, and owing to its wary 
disposition, indicated by the trivial name it bears, is extremely rare 
in collections. These are all known to seafaring men as Molly- 
mauks — a corruption of MALLEMUCK — and chiefly frequent the 
Southern Ocean, as does also the Sooty Albatros, which, from its 
wedge-shaped tail, has been placed in a genus of its own, and passes 
as Phoehetria fidiginosa. 

ALBINO (coll. n. albinism). A case of Heterochrosis, pro- 
duced by the partial or total absence of the normally-present black 
pigment in the feathers and other parts. In complete albinos the 
pupil and iris are red, OAving to the blood-vessels shining through 
these otherwise strongly pigmented j)arts. A lesion of the pulp of 
a gro^\ang feather not unfrequently prevents the deposition of pig- 
ment therein, but the pulp recovers as a rule after one or more 
moults (see Colour). 

ALECTOEIDES, an Order proposed by Temminck in 1820 
{Man. d'Orn. ed. 2, i. p. xcv.) to contain the genei"a Psophia (Trump- 
eter), Dicholoplius (Seriema), Glareola (Pratincole), Palameclea, and 
Channel (Screajnier). Sundevall subsequently {K. Vet. Acad. Hand- 
lingar, 1836, p. 120) substituted Otis (Bustard) for Glareola, but 
wholly dropped the group in his Tentamen (1872-73) wherein these 
forms are differently disposed. The Order has, however, been ad- 
mitted by several other systematists, and among them by Mr. Sclater, 
who, in 1880, made it include six Families (see Introduction). 

ALECTOROMOEPH^, according to Prof. Huxley's arrange- 
ment (P^'oc. Zool. Soc. 1867, pp. 456, 459), the fifth group of 
SCHIZOGNATH^, corresponding practically with the Gallin.^ of 
Linnaeus ; and, omitting the genera Opisthocomus (Hoactzin) and 
Menura (Lyre-BIRd), with the section Gallinacei of lUiger's Rasores. 

ALK, the old and ajjparently the more correct form of AuK. 

ALLANTOIS (from dAAas, a sausage). A sack-like structure, 
which during the very early development of the embryo grows out 
from the posterior gut into the body cavity, and extends rapidly all 
round the embryo in the space enclosed by the false amnion, forming 
then Avith the latter a highly vascular inner lining of the eggshell. 
This bag receives urine, and takes on respiratory functions in 
embryonic Birds and Reptiles. Towards the end of incubation the 


allantois shrivels up, and is cast off with the shell ; its stalk or 
urachus, from the cloaca to the navel, is gradually absorbed, there 
being no urinary bladder in Birds (see Eimbryology). 

ALP, otherwise ALPH, AWBE, or OLPH, a word of unknown 
origin, but of long standing (see Chaucer, Eomcmnt of the Hose, circa 
1400), and still locally used in one or other of its forms, e.g. " Blood- 
Olph" and "Green-Olph" for the Bullfinch and Greenfinch 

ALTPiICES, the name given by Sundevall {K. Vet. Acad. Handl. 
1836, p. 64) to his first section of the Class Aves, comprehend- 
ing those which " alunt pullulos" (feed their young), founded on 
the scheme of Oken (Lehrb. d. Zoologie, p. 371), in opposition 
to Pr^coces, the birds which at birth are more or less able to feed 
themselves, but subsequently abandoned by its inventor {Tentamen, 
p. xs., Nicholson's transl. p 26). 

The- division of the Class thus indicated has under various 
names been advocated by several authorities, and at first sight has 
a plausible appearance ; but investigation shews that it cannot be 
adopted. Doubtless the original Birds, like Keptiles, were Pmcoces, 
and the AUrices are of later date. The existence of the numerous 
intermediate forms may thus be explained ; but it follows that we 
cannot use as absolutely valid differentiating characters such as are 
afforded by the open or closed eyes of the young at birth, by their 
being clothed in down or naked, by their remaining in the nest or 
not, by their way of feeding themselves or being fed. It is possible 
that the transition from Frascoces to AUrices has been governed by 
purely external circumstances, which may still be in action — such, 
for instance, as the nest being built high above the ground or 
water. There are many Altrices whose whole anatomical structure 
proves them to be more nearly related to certain groups of typical 
Prsecoces than they are to other Altrices. These circumstances as 
fully explained {Jenaisch. Zeitschrift, 1879, p. 385, and Bronn, 
Thierreich, Aves. p. 701) lead to the following divisions of birds in 
regard to their development : — 

1. PRiECOCES or Nidifugx — hatched with eyes open ; thickly clad in 

down ; able to run at once, or almost at once ; and having such 
an amount of yolk stored in the abdomen as to render them for 
some time more or less independent of other food : — Eatitiv, 
Crypturi, Gallince, Laridx, Limicolae, Ptevoclidee, Ch-allx, Anseres, 

2, Altrices or Nidicolx — 

a. Lower NidicoLx — some hatched with their eyes open, others 
blind ; covered or not with down ; unable to leave the nest ; 
fed by the parents ; amount of food -yolk very limited: — 
Sioheniscidx, Steganopodes, Tubinares, Herodii, Pelargi. 


b. Higher Nidkolse. — hatclied in a lielpless condition, blind ; 
mostly naked, and for a long time nnrsed in the nest, the 
food -yolk having been used up at birth: — Columbse, 
Striges, Accijntres, Psittaci, Coccyges, Epopes, Haley ones, 
{Jypselomorphx, Pici, Passcres. 
The two series a and 6 stand phylogenetically parallel to each other. 

AIMAZON, a bird-fanciers' name for a certain group of Parrots 
belonging chiefly to the genus ChrysoUs. 

AMBIENS is a muscle (so called by Sundevall, Forhancll. Skand. 
Naturf. 1851, pp. 259-269 : abstract in Rep. Brit. Assoc. 1855, Trans, 
of Sect. p. 137) which, arising from the pectineal process of the pelvis, 
runs along the inner surface of the thigh, passes the knee as a 
string-like tendon, and then forms one of the heads of the deep 
flexor muscle of the second and third toe. The taxonomic value 
of this muscle has been much over-estimated since Garrod {P. Z. S. 
1874, pp. 111-123) divided the Class into HoMALOGONATiE, birds 
possessing an ambiens muscle, and Anomalogonat^, or birds 
Avithout such a muscle. The muscle is typically developed in 
Crypturi, Gallinae, Pteroclidae, Grallse, Laridse, Colymbidae, Stegano- 
podes, Impennes, Anseres, Accipitres, Coccyges ; it is absent in all 
Striges, Cypselomorphee, Haley ones, Epopes, Trogonidse, Pici, Pas- 
seres, Herodii, Alcidse, Podicipedidse ; it is very variable in Ratitge, 
Pelargi, Tubinares, Columbae, Psittaci (see also MUSCULAR System 
and Introduction). 

name given to a well-known favourite cage-bird, Estrilcla amanchva 
(see Weaver-bird), being a corruption of Ahmadabad, the name of 
a town in Goojerat whence, more than 200 years ago, according to 
FrjeT (New Account of East India, &c., London: 1698), examples 
were brought to Surat. In his peculiar style he tells us (p. 116) 
that " they are spotted with White and Red, no bigger than Measles, 
the principal Chorister beginning, the rest in Concert, Fifty in a 
cage, make an admirable Chorus." 

AMNION (a Greek word of doubtful derivation, used alreadj^ 
by Aristotle). From either end of the body of the very early 
embryo grows out a fold which passes dorsally over the embryo, 
and unites above it with its fellow from the other end ; between 
the two layers of this double fold, which is the amnion, extends 
the body-cavity, and receives the rapidly-growing Allantois ; the 
outer membrane of the allantois fuses with the outer double fold of 
the amnion, and forms the chorion, lining the eggshell (see Embryo- 
logy). The amnion affords one of the principal differentiating 
characters in the vertebrata ; Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals are as 
Amniota (Haeckel, Anthropogenie, 1874) opposed to Amphibians 
and Fishes or Anamnia. 


AMPHIBOLY, a group of birds so called by Nitzsch in 1829 
(Observationes de Avium Carotide communi, p. 16) comprising the 
genera, as then understood, Musophaga (TouRACO), Colitis (Mouse- 
bird), and Opisthocomus (Hoactzin) ; but by no means to be con- 
founded "\rith the 

AMPHIBOLI, one of Illiger's groups, defined in 1811 (Frodromus 
Systematis Mammalium et Arhim, p. 203), and composed of the 
genera Crotophaga, Scytlirops, Bucco, Cuculus and Centroptis — the 
third of which is treated of under the titles of Barbet and Puff- 
bird, while the rest will be found under those of Ani, Channel- 
bill, and CucKOW. 

AMPHIBOLIC is a toe which can be reversed at will either 
backwards or forwards. The outer or fourth toe is amphibolic, 
and can be turned backwards in Pandion, the Striges, Musophagidae, 
LeptosomatidtB, and Coliidse. This feature, when retained, forms 
the true zygodactyle foot. The Mouse-birds can turn the first toe 
forwards, being thus enabled temporarily to assume the condition 
of some of the Swifts, or that of zygodactyle birds. Reversion of 
the second toe backwards has produced the pseudo- zygodactyle or 
heterodactyle foot of the Trogons (see Skeleton). 

AMPHIMORPHxE, the name given by Prof. Huxley {Proc. 
Zool. Soc. 1867, p. 460) to his second group of Desmognath.^, 
which consists of the genus Phcenkopterus (Flaimingo), as being 
"so completely intermediate between the Anserine birds on the 
one side, and the Storks and Herons on the other, that it can be 
I'anged with neither of these groups, but must stand as the type 
of a division by itself." 

ANATOMY (dvarofjiLa, dissection) is that branch of zoology 
which deals Avith the description of the organic structure of animals ; 
a branch of this zootomy is Histology, the knowledge of the composi- 
tion of the tissues of the various organs. The object of Comparative 
Amitomy is the explanation of the features exhibited by the animal 
organization. The comparative method examines numbers of ditler- 
ent animals (or plants) with reference to the anatomical structure 
of their various organs, putting similar conditions together, and 
separating or excluding those which are dissimilar. By observing 
in such organs their size, number, shape, structure, relative posi- 
tion to other organs, and their development, Ave ultimately acquire 
a knowledge of such a series of conditions or features, exhibited 
by one and the same organ, which in their extremes may appear 
totally different, but are connected with each other by numerous 
intermediate stages. By ])rocceding in such a waj^, we are, for 
instance, enabled to understand the ankle-joint of Birds, by com- 
paring the bones of their hind limbs with those of Mammals 


and Reptiles, and by concluding that the avine ankle-joint is 
produced by the fusion of the proximal tarsal bones with the 
tibia, and of the distal tarsals with the metatarsals, that conse- 
quently this joint in Birds is not the same as the ankle-joint 
of Mammals. If moreover, as is the case here, the study of the 
embryonic development of Birds shews that this fusion actually 
does take place, Ontogeny corroborates the correctness of the 
conclusions which we had arrived at by the strictly comparative or 
phylogenetic method. 

Plujlogeny, then, is the study of the relationship and the 
descent of the various animals, often with the help of fossil species, 
which are generally in some ways intermediate between other recent 
forms. For instance, through comparison of the skeleton of Birds 
^\■ith that of other Vertebrates, we find that Birds resemble Rep- 
tiles much more than they do Fishes or Amphibia or Mammals ; 
this we express by saying that Birds are rather nearly related to 
Reptiles ; the extraordinary resemblance of recent Birds with the 
fossil Archxopteryx, which at the same time has still many truly 
Rei^tilian characters, links the two classes still more together. We 
conclude that Reptiles and Birds are descendants of one common 
Reptilian stock. Since most Reptiles possess teeth, and the more 
than half avine Arclixoptenjx also has teeth, we again conclude 
that the earliest Birds likewise possessed such organs, and that 
their descendants have lost them. In this belief we are not shaken, 
although the most careful examination of embryonic birds has 
failed to reveal even the smallest traces of dental germs. The 
subsequent discovery in American cretaceous deposits of Toothed 
bu'ds, like Endiornis and Hesperornis, is a beautiful corroboration of 
the soundness of the method. 

Ontogmy, on the other hand, includes the study of the develop- 
ment of the individual, and hence is often called Embryology. What- 
ever organic modifications the parents have acquired during their 
life, subjected to the struggle for existence, be it through natural or 
sexual selection, or be it through spontaneous variation, aWII be 
inherited, at least partly, by their offspring. Ontogeny is therefore 
the recapitulation by the gTOwing individual of the sum total of the 
ever-changing stages and conditions through which the whole chain 
of its ancestors has passed : it is a condensed repetition of Phylo- 
geny. This repetition is often so much condensed that many 
previous stages are rapidly passed through, or may even be appar- 
ently left out, or they have become modified beyond recognition 
through the development of organs necessitated by, and restricted 
to, the embryonic stages. Such strictly embryonic organs (for 
instance the Ajninion and the Allantois, or the placenta) are 
features which have originally nothing whatever to do with the 
adult, because we know of no Vertebrates which in their adult 


condition live "s^dtliin such. bags. Another imperfection of the 
ontogenetic record lies in the fact that the sequence in "which the 
various organs are developed in the embryo does not always 
correspond with the temporary succession in which we know 
them to have been acquired during the phylogenetic develop- 
ment of the animal in question ; thus feathers begin to bud Avhile 
the skeleton of the embryo is still cartilaginous. Such discrep- 
ancies between the ontogenetic and phylogenetic development have 
been termed " caenogenetic " by Prof. Hgeckel (from Kauvos, new). 
The fact of their frequent occurrence without our being aware of 
the various cases, warns us to be extremely careful in interpreting 
the various features exhibited by the embryo. In the present 
state of our knowledge it is often impossible to decide the taxonomic 
value of a given feature. 

Descrirptive Anatomy requires a number of technical terms which 
shall not be ambiguous, or permit of doubt as to their intended 
meaning. For instance, terms like upper and lower, anterior and 
posterior, inner and outer, are often liable to be misunderstood. 
In ordinary parlance anterior corresponds with ventral in Man 
iynth. reference to whom many of our technical terms have been 
invented), but the head though at the anterior end of the animal 
is not ventral, and yet the anterior surface of a vertebra may mean 
its ventral surface. In fact, these vernacular names change their 
meaning according to the starting-point which happens to be 

It seems therefore ad^dsable to enumerate, and give a definition 
of, those terms which it is useful to apply throughout in the 
description of the various organs of a Bird. 

The longitudinal axis of every bird corresponds with its vertebral 
column : one end is marked by the head, the other by the tail, thus 
giving the terms cephalic and caudal ; and concerning the neck, trunk, 
and tail, together with their constituent parts, anterior and posterior. 
On one side of the vertebral column or axis are situated the heart, 
lungs, and digestive organs ; this is the ventral, in opposition to the 
dorsal side. These give, combined with anterior and posterior, right 
and left An axis at right angles with the longitudinal one, and at 
the same time running right and left, is a transverse axis ; beginning 
with the vertebral axis as the starting-point, the terms proximal and 
distal are applied to any organ or part which is referable to the 
longitudinal axis. These two terms are chiefly applicable to parts 
like ribs and limbs with their various elements. The proximal end 
of the tibia articulates with the distal end of the femur ; the 
proximal end of a rib articulates with a vertebra, and so on. The 
tip of the wing marks its distal, the Axilla its proximal end. 

AVith reference to an ideal plane through the longitudinal axis, 
and at right angles to the transverse axis, arc applied the terms 


maJkui or inner, lateral or outer. Lastly, since it is not always 
obvious to which axis or plane a given organ is to be referred, its 
parts can be described with reference to its neighbours. Hence we 
s^Deak of the tibial and fibular, radial and ulnar side of the bones 
and other parts of the extremities ; the fourth toe is on the fibular, 
outer, or lateral side of the foot, the first, which is ordinarily the 
hind toe, on the tibial, inner, and posterior side. 

The hasal part of an organ is generally also its proximal part or 
root, while the apex corresponds with its free or distal end, the 
latter being the portion most removed or distant from the region 
whence it grew. Thus we sj)eak of the distal tracheal rings as 
joining the bronchi, while proximally the trachea is attached to the 

In comparing the various parts of one animal with each other, 
or "with those of another animal, we call the organs which are 
morphologically or structiu'ally similar homologous, the parts vi^hich 
physiologically or functionally correspond are analogous. AVhen the 
comparison is restricted to one indi%idual, the homologies are general. 
The difierent vertebrae, or the ribs, or the anterior and posterior 
extremities of any particular Bird are serially homologous or homo- 
dynaraous organs, because they are to a certain extent repetitions 
of each other, although not necessarily exactly alike. If the 
comparison refers to similar organs in various individuals, no 
matter if these belong to the same species, genus, family, or class, 
the homologies are special, and these again may be complete or incom- 
plete. Eor instance, the humerus of a Bird is completely homo- 
logous with that of a Mammal, Eeptile, or Amphibian ; the atlas 
or first vertebra of a Crow is completely homologous with the same 
part of a Dog. On the other hand, the wing of a Crow is only 
incompletely homologous with the arm of Man ; nor is the two-toed 
foot of the Ostrich completely homologous with the four-toed foot 
of a Fowl, although the various bones which compose the feet in 
both are complete homologies. 

Homologous organs are consequently developed from the same 
parts of the embryos of the creatures Avhich are under comparison. 
Hence the number of existing homologies in given animals indicates 
their further or closer relationship, and is used for assigning these 
animals to their places in the system. It follows from this con- 
sideration, that the animal's place in the system depends greatly, or 
entirely, upon the characters or organs selected for this purpose. 
Unless all the organs and all their characters are carefully considered, 
not only in the few Birds which happen to occupy our attention at 
the time, but also in Bkds of as many different groups as it is pos- 
sible to examine, our attempts to produce a classification of Birds 
must invariably end in the production of arbitrary " keys." It is 
extremely difficult, often hopeless, with the present state of our 


knowledge of the anatomy of Birds, to decide which characters and 
which organs are of extrinsic taxonomic value, and which are 
not. Nor is it always possible to see why certain organs, fully 
developed, and exhibiting striking and constant features in one 
group of Birds, are extremely variable in another otherwise very 
circumscribed and apparently natural group. Supposing such a 
character to be absent in a given group, is it absent because it has 
not yet been developed, or is it because it has been lost ? Has it been 
lost by the ancestors of this group, or has it been abolished within 
this group % In the former case the absence of this character would 
probably help to decide the relative position of the group ; in the 
latter case this very same character would be reduced to a dia- 
gnostic point within the group, and not throw any light upon its 
relationship or systematic position. It may be very easy to dia- 
gnose genera or even large groups of birds, but this ability to deter- 
mine them by the help of mechanically arranged " keys " does not 
necessarily afford us more than an occasional glimpse of the sunk 
avine tree, at the reconstruction of which we all aim, as the true 
representation of the natural affinities of Birds. 

It is occasionally insisted upon that " tact " will help us to 
select and to reject characters, and thus prevent us from falling into 
glaring errors ; but tact is a personal feeling, often bias, and it is 
proof, not inclination, that settles scientific questions. The import- 
ance of these considerations, often expressed before in abler words, 
is gaining more and more ground among ornithologists, and will 
therefore permit the following illustrations of the ways in which 
we may or may not apply the study of comparative anatomy to 

The presence of the Ambiens Muscle is a Eeptilian feature ; 
among Birds it exists in the majority of the lower groups, and is 
absent in most of the higher members of the Class. We conclude 
that the latter have lost this muscle, and not that it has not yet 
been developed in them. Its reduction or loss is still going on 
within some groups, such as Parrots and Pigeons. This loss takes 
place independently in widely difi"erent groups. It folloAvs, first, 
that absence of this muscle does not always indicate relationship ; 
secondly, that we can derive forms that are Avithout it from a 
group which still possess it ; but that the reversed conclusion is not 
possible. AVe know of no organ which has been redeveloped after 
it has once disappeared in the ancestors of the animals under con- 
sideration. Therefore the absence of the ambiens muscle in all 
Owls, which apparently use their hinder extremities in the same 
way as the Falconidx (which possess this muscle), indicates that 
the Owls are not developed from the Fakonidtv, but from a group 
which, like the Macrochiro^, had already lost this organ. 

Similar arguments apply to the C.ECA. It is generally admitted 


that the ancestral bird-stock did possess well-developed c^eca, there- 
fore all those birds -which are now found without caeca must have 
lost them either phylogenetically or even during their embryonic 
development. In fact, we find in embryos of such birds as 
have, when adult, only very small or rudimentary caeca, that the 
germs of these organs are, in the embryo, just as Avell developed as 
in birds vnth long ca?ca ; but these organs, in a Pigeon for instance, 
do not grow any further. They are in eai'ly life stopped in their 
development, and thus remain in a rudimentary state. Again, in 
all those birds Avhich are completely devoid of caeca, their suppres- 
sion is simply carried out to the extreme. We cannot therefore, as 
has been done sometimes, separate Birds into those with and those 
■snthout cfeca : this is especially ■\\Tong, as there exist many forms, 
which, although undoubtedly allied to each other, differ greatly in 
the presence or absence of these organs. If we want to use the 
CKca as a differentiating character, we must consider their quality, 
and enquire whether those organs are functional and well developed, 
or are they now without function 1 Consequently birds with 
rudimentary ceeca have to be grouped together with those which 
have no cseca, although the ancestors of both had functional caeca ; 
and since we know that these organs stand in close correlation with 
the nature of the food, we are enabled to weigh their taxonomic 
value. Hence it is probable that the Owls are related to the caeca- 
possessing Nightjars, and that the caecaless Macrochires (like Swifts) 
are a recent offshoot of the latter, while it is impossible to assume 
that the Owls are descendants of the Diurnal Birds-of-Prey. 

The modifications of the Carotid Arteries have enabled Prof. 
Fuerbringer to draw a very ingenious and valid conclusion as 
to the probable original centre of the Parrots. While the Aus- 
tralian, Oriental, and African Parrots exhibit almost every possible 
modification of these arteries, from the most primitive to the most 
specialised conditions, the American Parrots possess only the right 
deep carotis and a left superficial carotis, an arrangement which is 
a decidedly recent, not primary feature. Hence the conclusion that 
the American Parrots are a branch of the Palaeotropical stem ; but 
however fascinating such speculations are, we must not forget that 
they hardly ever amount to definite proofs. 

Supposing we divide Birds into two classes (A and B), according 
to the presence or absence of the AilBlENS muscle. As a second 
diflerentiating character let us take the functional or fully developed 
(ft) and the absent or functionless state of the C^CA (b) ; and as a 
thii'd character the presence (a) or absence (/3) of an Ajftershaft. 
Then using the ambiens as the principal, and the aftershaft as the 
tertiary differentiating feature, and indicating presence or absence 
by the signs + and - respectively, we get the foUo^ving eight 
divisions : — ■ 


A. Ambiens + 

a. C£eca + 

a. Aftersliaft + e.g. Gallinse, Impennes, Plioenicopterus, 
Musophaga, etc. 

/?. Aftershaft — e.^. Anseres, etc. 
J. Caeca — 

a. Aftersliaft + e.g. Accipitres, Psittaci partim. 

/3. Aftersliaft — e.g. ColumbEe partim. 

B. Ambiens — 

a. C£eca + 

a. Aftersliaft + e-gr. Alca, Podicipes. 

/?. Aftershaft - e.g. Striges. 
&. Cseca — 

a. Aftershaft + e.g-. Psittaci pt., Cypseli, Trocliili, etc. 

/?. Aftersliaft — e.g. Passeres, Columbse pt., Herodii, etc. 

Thus the Owls in this arrangement approach nearest to the 
Auks and Grebes, while the Parrots, owing to their variable 
ambiens muscle, are grouped either with the Accipitres, or with the 
Swifts and Humming-birds. This is obviously unsatisfactory, per- 
haps owing to the value of the ambiens muscle being overrated. 
Let us next use the aftershaft as the principal, the ambiens as the 
secondary determining character, and the caeca as the third. Then 
the Psittaci approach the Gallinaceous birds and also the Auks and 
Grebes, while the Owls verge into the neighbourhood of Pigeons, 
Herons, and Passerine birds. Again, by using the caeca as the prin- 
cipal, and the ambiens as the secondary feature, Psittaci, Accipitres, 
and Columbae, Owls, Auks, and Grebes are once more thrown to- 
gether. The same or very similar arrangements result from a 
combination of the caeca with the oil-gland, or of the ambiens and 
caeca with the conditions of the palatal bones. But these per- 
sistent coincidences will never induce us to look upon them as 
indicating relationship between Owls, Auks, and Grebes, because 
this conclusion would be obviously wrong ! How does the ques- 
tion stand with regard to other combinations, when we cannot at 
a glance discern a glaring error % When, e.g. according to the 
muscles of the thigh, leaving out the ambiens, Striges, Accipitres, 
and Cypselidae stand closely together % Is this a mere coincidence 
or does a deeper meaning underlie this Trias % It is obviously not 
due to a superior taxonomic value of Garrod's myological formulae, 
because application of the same principle throws Nightjars, Storks, 
and Parrots together. 

It is hopeless to attempt to arrive at a natural classification of 
Birds by a mechanical arrangement of even a great number of 
alleged leading characters. More may be expected from the com- 
bination of various taxonomic arrangements, each of which has 
been based upon a single organic system without reference to other 


organs. Of course every one of such one-sided attempts will 
occasionally shew a rather perplexing face, but each of them will 
bring to light some unexpected points of resemblance between 
certain groups ; and, Avhile restricting ourselves to one organic 
system, we are more likely to understand which points are given 
to modifications through mode of life, food, habit, and surroundings, 
and which remain least affected, and therefore are indicative of 
relationship. Let us then combine the several one-sided arrange- 
ments. They will each of them contribute something good or 
certain, and thus help to settle the great question. Reasoning from 
a broad basis of facts will do the rest. 

ANHIMA or ANHINGA, see Snake-bird. 

ANI, according to Marcgrave ijlist. Rer. Nat. Brasilia, p. 193), 
the Brazilian name of what is the Crotophaga major of modern 
ornithologists, who have ignorantly misapplied Linnseus's designa- 
tion, C. ani, to its smaller congener, an inhabitant of the Antilles 
and part of the Spanish Main. This latter is known to most 
of the English-speaking people of the West Indies as the Black 
Witch or Savanna Blackbird. The genus Crotophaga is one of 
the most remarkable forms of the Cuculidm (CucKOw) of the New 

ANISODACTYLI, Vieillot's name, in 1816 (Analyse, p. 29), 
for the second tribe of his second Order, comprehending all the 
Passeres of Linnaeus and such of the latter's PlC^ as had not two 
toes before and two behind. By some later authors the name has 
been restricted to the genera which are not Zygodactyli and are 
yet placed among the Scansores. 

ANKLE-JOINT. The true ankle-joint is a Mammalian feature, 
being the articulation of the tibia with the astragalus, and therefore 
a tibio-tarsal joint. In Birds the so-called ankle-joint is an inter- 
tarsal joint, because the proximal tarsal bones, of which the astra- 
galus is one, are fused with the end of the tibia, and the distal 
tarsal are fused with the metatarsal bones (see Skeleton). 

ANOMALOGONAT^, the second of the two subclasses, the 
other being called Homalogonat^, into which Garrod at one 
time divided Birds, according as they possessed an Ambiens 
muscle or not (Froc. Zool. Sac. 1874, pp. 116-118). In the 
Homalogonatous or "typically -kneed" birds "the amUens runs 
in the tendon of the knee," though there are some of them in which 
it is absent ; but " there cannot be any Anomalogonatous birds in 
which it is present." For the groups which are contained in these 
categories, see Introduction. 

ANSERES, the third Order of the Class Aves according to the 
system of Linnseus, comprising all the Web-footed Birds known to 


him except Phoenicopterus (Flajviingo) and JRecurvirostm (Avoset). 
If the term be used at the present day, it must be limited to the 
Geese and their allies. 

ANT-THEUSH, Latham's rendering in 1783 {Gen. Synops. ii. 
p. 87) of Buffon's Fourmilier projyrement dit (Hist. Nat. Ois. iv. 
p. 473), a bird figured by Daubenton {PI. enl. 700, fig. 1) as the 
Fourmillier de Cayenne, the Formicarius torqiiatusoi Boddaert in 1783, 
the Turdus formicarius of Gmelin in 1788, and the PJiopotrope 
torquata of modern systematists ; for, though it should be logically 
recognized as the type of the genus Formicarius, Prof. Cabanis in 
1847 {Orn. Notiz. p. 227), misled probably by G. E. Gray, removed 
it to one of his own making. This little bird, not so big as a 
Skylark, is very beautiful, notwithstanding its curious figure, with 
a disproportionately long bill, short tail, and strong legs, and 
absence of bright coloration, for the black, rich brown, sienna, buff, 
grey and white which its plumage presents, are most harmoniously 
contrasted or blended. It is a native of the northern parts of 
South America, and BuflFon received it from Cayenne through 
Manoncour, the little we know of its habits being due to the latter. 
It is a mark of Bufibn's insight that he at once recognized in this 
species, and several others allied to it, obtained from the same 
source, a perfectly distinct group of birds which he designated 
Fourmiliers from their feeding (as he was told) chiefly on Ants.^ 
The systematists of his day, Boddaert and Hermann excepted, were 
not so perceptive, and referred these birds to the Thrushes or some 
of them to the Shrikes. Their distinctness was at last recognized, 
and they were duly regarded as forming a Family, Formicariida^y 
which is now known to contain more than 250 species, and by 
Mr. Sclater {Cat. B. Br. Mns. xv. pp. 176-328) in 1890 has been 
divided into 3 subfamilies — Thamnophilinse, often knoAvn as 
"Bush-Shrikes," containing 10 genera and at least 80 species; 
Formicariinse, the true Ant-Thrushes, including in them the 
Formicivoiinx, by Swainson ^ called " Ant- Wrens " {Zool. Journ. ii. 
p. 146), that Mr. Sclater had formerly {P. Z. S. 1858, pp. 
232-254) recognized, and thus enlarging the Formicariinie so as to 
comprise 18 genera and more than 130 species; while the third 
subfamily G-rcdlariinm includes 5 genera and over 30 species. In 

■■■ Mr. Bates {Kat. Amazon, ii. p. 357) says that the first signal given to the 
pedestrian of meeting with a train of Foraging Ants {Eciion) is the twittering 
and restless movement of small flocks of Ant-Thrushes in the forest, and that if 
he disregards their warning he is sure to be attacked by the ferocious insects. 

2 Swainson did not know that his genus Formicivora had been anticipated by ■ 
Temmiuck, who in 1807 {Cat. du Cab. p. 92) used the name Formicivorus, in a 
sense equivalent to Boddaert's Formicarius. The group separated by Swainson was 
in 1827 called by Gloger Eriodora, which name therefore apparently ought to be 
used for it. 


reality but few of these birds have an outward resemblance to Shrikes, 
Thrushes, or Wrens, and all belong to quite a different division of 
Passeres. In 1847 Johannes Miiller and Prof. Cabanis justly 
placed them among their Clainiatores, and subsequently Garrod 
shewed their Mesomyodian structure. The Formicariidx, are one 
of the most characteristic Families of the Neotropical Eegion, 
abounding in the forest-districts of its middle portion, becoming 
less numerous in Central America, and still scarcer in the southern 
parts, only just reaching the plains of La Plata. They are mostly 
small birds of sober hue, some not bigger than Wrens ; but members 
. of the Genera Batara and Grallaria attain the stature of a Jay. The 
last named of them has much the appearance of a PiTTA — a distinct 
group to which the name "Ant-Thrush" has also been applied. 
As is the case with most South- American birds, scarcely anything is 
known of their habits. The large genus Thamnophilus, containing 
upwards of 50 species, is one of the most 
important of the so-called "Bush-Shrikes," 
and many of its members are remarkable 
for the sexual diversity in plumage, that 
of the cocks being black or black banded 
with white, while that of the hens is 
rufous ; but in some other groups the 
black or black-and-white plumage is 

-„ J. v J.-L r\£ J.^ ■ Ant-Thrush (ThamnopMlus). 

common to both sexes. Of this genus (After Swainson) 

several species inhabit British Guiana, at 

least three occur in Trinidad, and one is found in Tobago, where it 

is known as the Qua-qua or Cata-bird (Ann. N. II. xx. p. 331), their 

presence in these two islands offering one of the many strong 

proofs of their fauna belonging to that of continental South 

America, since no member of the Family is found in the Antilles 


AORTA (adj. aortic), the principal Artery from which arise 
the blood-vessels supplying the trunk, hind limbs, and viscera below 
or behind the heart (see VASCULAR System). 

APTERYX, see Kiwi. 

AECH^OPTERYX, see Fossil Birds. 

AREND, the Dutch for Eagle, but used by the colonists in 
South Africa for the Bearded Vulture or Lammergeyer. 

AEGALA, Hindoo Hargita — said by Yule to be the Ki/Aa of 
-^lian (xvi. 4) — a name of the Adjutant. 

AEGUS or AEGUS-PHEASANT, the name originally applied 
in ornithology to the extraordinary and beautiful birds of the 
Malay Peninsula, Siam, and Borneo, which are not distantly related 
to the Peacock ; but by English sportsmen in India commonly 


used for the species of the genus Ceriornis, also knoAvn as Tragopans, 
which are supposed to have more affinity to the true Pheasants. 
In each case the ocellated phimage has suggested the allusion to 
the well-known personage in classical mythology. 

AETAMUS, a genus of true Passerine birds founded by Vieillot, 
and of late use as an English word. They are the "Wood- 
Swallows "or " Swallow-Shrikes " of some authors, and by many 
are considered to be the nearest neighbours of the Eirundinidm 
(Swallow), making some approach to them in their long ^Wngs, 
and habit of catching insects in continuous flights. If it be granted 
from their possessing patches of Powder-down that they should 
form a separate Family Artamida.'-, its true alliance must still be 
guessed at. Some 15 species have been described, more than half 
of them being found in Australia, Avhile one inhabits India. 

ARTERY (adj. arterial). Arteries are the vessels through 
which the blood leaves the heart ; no matter if this blood be arterial 
or venous, as, for instance, is that which flows through the pul- 
monary arteries (see Vascular System). 

ATTEAL, ATTEILE or ATTILE, a word, presumably a bird's 
name, occurring -with variations of spelling in many olcl Scottish 
records (as, for example, in 1600, Act. Jac. VI. cap. 23), and 
apparently used in Orkney for some kind of Duck so lately as 1848 
according to Baikie and Heddle {Hid. Nat. Oread, p. 79), who, 
possibly by mistake, apply it to the PoCHARD. The same was done 
in 1886 by Mr. Thomas Edmondston [Etymolog. Glossary of the 
Shetland and Orkney Dialect), who associates it mth the old Norsk 
Tjaldr, which he calls " Turdus marinus," but is properly the 
Oyster-CATCHER. Of unknown etymology, it may be connected 
with the Scandinavian Atfeling-And or Atling, which again may be 
cognate Avith Taling, the Dutch for Teal. 

AUK (Teutonic Alk), the old English name for the Razor-bill, 
and perhaps the Guillemot, of modern writers ; but as applied to 
the former now only in provincial use, 
though maintained in a collective sense for 
members of the Family Alckkv. With the 
prefix "Great" or "Little," it signifies 
respectively the Gare-FOWL and the bird 
so well known to Arctic seamen as the 

The greatest number of forms belong- 
HoBN-BH.LED AuK (Aftcr ^ ^0 this Family inhabit the North Pacific, 

Swainson.) 111 i ■ • 

and have been separated into various genera. 
Some of them exhibit the seasonal shedding of the outgrowths on 
the sheath of the bill and on the head that, as in the Puffin, are 



only assumed in spring. Among them is the curious Cerorhyncha 
(or Ceraiorhina) monocerata which by shedding the horn-like pro- 
tuberance rising between the nostrils, and here figured, led to no 
few mistakes until the peculiarity was known. 

AYADUVAT, a corruption of Amadavat. 

AYIS, the ordinary Latin word for Bird, and in its plural form, 
Aves, the scientific name of the Class of Vertebrate Animals which 
comprises every kind of Bird. 

The want of an adjective derived from Avis and Bird is one 
much felt both in Latin ^ and English. In the latter language 
remedy is hopeless, for bird-like is not enough, and " birdy " can 
only be regarded as jocose. From the former an attempt has been 
made to supply this defect by the invention and use by some 
writers of " avian " — a form which scholars declare to be unclassical, 
though they allow that "avine" might perhaps be admitted. Of 
Greek origin " ornithic " is quite justifiable. 

AYOSET, from the Ferrarese Avosetta,'^ the Becurvirostra avocetta 

AvosET (Remrvirostra avocetta). (After Naumann.) 

of ornithology, a bird remarkable for its bill, which is perhaps the 
most slender to be seen in the whole Class, and curving upward 
towards the end, has given it two names which it formerly bore in 

^ Aviarius exists as a Latin adjective, but its precise meaning is somewhat 
indefinite, and its use can hardly be recommended. 

" This word is considered to be derived from the Latin avis — the termination 
expressing a diminutive of a graceful or delicate kind, as donndta from donna 
(Prof. Salvador! in epist.) ; but it is spelt Avocetta by Prof. Giglioli. 


England, — " Cobbler's-awl," from its likeness to the tool so called, 
and " Scooper," because it resembled tbe scoop Avith which boatmen 
threw water on their sails. The legs, though long, are not extra- 
ordinarily so, and the feet, which are webbed, bear a small hind toe. 
This species was of old time plentiful in England, though 
doubtless always restricted to certain localities. Charleton in 
1668 says that when a boy he had shot not a few on the Severn, 
and Plot mentions it so as to lead one to suppose that in his time 
(1686) it bred in Staffordshire, while Willughby (1676) knew of it 
as being in winter on the eastern coast, and Pennant in 1769 found 
it in great numbers opposite to Fossdyke Wash in Lincolnshire, and 
described the birds as hovering over the sportsman's head like Lap- 
wings. In this district they were called " Yelpers " from their 
cry ; ' but whether that name was elsewhere applied is uncertain. 
At the end of the last century they frequented Eomney Marsh in 
Kent, and in the first quarter of the present century they bred in 
various suitable spots in Suffolk and Norfolk, — the last place known 
to have been inhabited by them being Salthouse, where the people 
made puddings of their eggs, while the birds were killed for the 
sake of their feathers, which were used in making artificial flies for 
fishing. The extirpation of this settlement took place between 
1822 and 1825 (c/. Stevenson, Birds of Norfolk, ii. pp. 240, 241).2 
There is some evidence of their having bred so lately as about 
1840 at the mouth of the Trent {cf. Clarke and Eoebuck, Vert. 
Fauna of Yorkshire, p. 72). The Avoset's mode of nesting is 
much like that of the Stilt, and the eggs are hardly to be dis- 
tinguished from those of the latter but by their larger size, the 
bird being about as big as a Lapwing, white, with the exception 
of its crown, the back of the neck, the inner scapulars, some of 
the wing-coverts and the primaries, which are black, while the legs 
are of a fine light blue. It seems to get its food by working its 
bill from side to side in shalloAv pools, and catching the small 
crustaceans or larvae of insects that may be swimming therein, but 
not, as has been stated, by sweeping the surface of the mud or 
sand — a process that would speedily destroy the delicate bill by 
friction. Two species of Avoset, R. americana and R. andina, are 
found in the New World ; the former, Avhich ranges so far to the 
nortliAvard as the Saskatchewan, is distinguislied by its light 
cinnamon-coloured head, neck, and breast, and the latter, confined 
so far as known to the mountain lakes of Chili, has no white on 
the upper parts except the head and neck. Australia produces a 

1 Cf. "Yarwhelp" (Godwit) and "Yaup" or " "Whaup " (Cuiilew). 
" Barker " and "Clinker " seem to have been names used in Norfolk. 

^ The same kind of lamentable destruction has of late been carried on in 
Holland and Denmark, to the extirpation probably of the species in each 



fourth species, B. nova3 liollandim or nibricollis, with a chestnut head 
and neck ; but the European R. avocefta extends over nearly the 
whole of middle and southern Asia as well as Africa. 

The proposal (Ibis, 1886, pp. 224-237) to unite the Avosets 
and Stilts in a single genus seems to have little to recommend 
it but its novelty, and will hardly meet with acceptance by 

AXILLA (adj. axillary), the arm -pit, whence, or from the 
adjoining part of the arm, arise in many birds some elongated 
feathers (axillaries or loAver humeral coverts), constituting the 
hipopteron. In most water-birds, especially in NumeniiLS, and Grus, 
but also in a few others, as Coracias, some of these feathers are 
very long, straight, and slender. 




BABBLER, apparently first used in ornithology in 1837, by 
Swainson (Classif. B. ii. 233), for the birds, assigned by him 
to the subfamily Crateropoclinx, belonging to the genera Bellor- 
neum, Crateropus, 
G-rallina, Malacocer- 
ciis (including as a 
subgenus Timalia of 
Horsfield) and Btero- 
ptochus (Tapaculo). 
With the exception 
of the third and the 
last these forms are 
now commonly re- 
garded as forming part of the Family 
Timeliidx (often but less accurately 
written Timaliidse), which no system- 
atist has yet been able to define 
satisfactorily, Avhile many have not 
unjustly regarded it as a "refuge for 
the destitute" — thrusting into it a 
great number of forms, chiefly Oscin- 
ine, that, Avith a bill resembling a Cinclorhamphus. 

Shrike's, a Thrush's, or a War- (After swamson.) 

BLEr's, mostly possess veiy short and incurved wings, and cannot, 
in the opinion of some, be conveniently stowed elsewhere. Two 
volumes (vi. and vii.) of the Catalogue of Birds in the British 


Criniger. (After Swainson.) 

Museum ^ are devoted to this mixed multitude, which is therein 
made to include, beside the groups usually assigned to the 
Family, others more or less well defined, such as Bower-birds, 
Mocking-birds, and Wrens, with certain Bulbuls, Shrikes, 
Thrushes, and Warblers. Some of these, such as the first three, 
to say nothing of Water -Ousels, Hedge -Sparrows, and some 
American forms, are obviously not allied to the rest ; but, after 
their withdrawal, there is still a fine field left for a systematic 
ornithologist who would take in hand what remains of this hetero- 
geneous assemblage, and introduce even the semblance of order 

where all is at pre- 
sent confusion. The 
birds more particu- 
larly called Babblers, 
often with a prefix 
such as Bush-Bab- 
bler, Shrike-Babbler, 
Tit-Babbler, and so 
forth, belong chiefly to the Ethiopian and Indian Eegions, and many 
of the last are well treated, under the name of Crateropodidse, by 
Mr. W. E. Gates (Faun. Brit. India, Birds, i. pp. 70-297), though even 
he has perhaps been too generous in receiving some forms. Many 
of these Birds originally described under the genus Criniger of 
Temminck, but since subdivided as TricJiolestes, Xenociclila, and so 
forth, are remarkable for the long fine bristles that spring from 
the nape or middle of the back, as shewn in the annexed figure ; 
but traces of this feature may be seen in many other forms, and 
even in one so familiar as the common Song-THRUSH. 

BABILLAED, a French name, Anglified in 1831 by Rennie in 
his edition of Montagu's Ornithological Didionanj (p. 15), for the 
bird already known as the Lesser AVhitethroat ; but one that 
has fortunately not taken real hold in our language. Had he 
attempted to revive the old English " Babelard," he probably would 
not have been more successful. 

BACBAKIRI, one of the short-winged Shrikes, the Telephonus 
hacbakiri of South- African ornithology, and so named of the colonists 
from its call-note (Layard, £. S. Africa, p. 161). 

BALDPATE, the name commonly given by the English-speak- 
ing residents of the West Indies to a Dove, the Columha leuco- 
cephala, from its white head — though most inaccurately, for that 
part is Avell clothed with feathers. It may here be observed that 

^ The second of these volumes possesses one great merit : it does not pre- 
tend to assign an English name to birds which by hardly any conceivable chance 
will need one. 


the epithet "Bald" is applied just as inaccurately in North America 
to an Eagle, the Haliaetus leucocephalus, and in England, though 
more appositely, to the CooT. 

BANTAM, a small breed of domestic poultry, so-called under 
the belief that it came from the part of Java which bears that name ; 
but appai'ently it originated in Japan (cf. Darwin, Anim. & Plants 
nnder Boniest, chap, vii.) Birds of this breed were mentioned in 
1G9S by Fryer (Neiu Account of East India, p. 116) as "Champore 
cocks," coming from Siam. Remarkable for their diminutive size, 
they were characterized also by their feathered feet. In modern 
times Sebright established a sub-breed, known by his name, in which 
not only is this last feature wanting, but there is comparatively 
little external difference between the cocks and hens. 

BARBET, Pennant's equivalent in 1773 {Gen. Birds, pp. 13, 14) 
of Brisson's and subsequently Linnseus's genus Bucco (a word coined^ 
in 1752 by Moehring, though applied 
by him to the Toucans) ; but Brisson 
called it in French Barbu, " from its 
bristles, a sort of beard " with which 
the beak is beset, as will be seen 
in the figure, and hence Pennant 
formed his word.^ The type of 

Brisson's genus, on which that of Poqonorhynchus. (After Swainsoi^ 

Linngsus was founded, was called 

by the latter in 1766, 5. cajpensis — most unhappily in all respects, for 
the former had expressly given Cayenne as its habitat.^ The birds 
originally included in the genus are now recognized as belonging to 
two distinct Families, commonly known as Bticconidm and CapUonidai, 
and it is to the latter of these that the name " Barbet " is restricted 
by modern ornithologists, the former being known as Puff-birds. 
The Capitoniclai,^ or "Scansorial" Barbets as some authors designate 
them, though their climbing power is disputed, form the subject of 
a beautifully illustrated Monograph by Messrs. C. H. T. and G. F. L. 

■^ From the Latin hucca ; and, as explained by Pennant, referring to ' ' the 
fulness of the cheeks. " 

" Barhet had long existed in French in the sense of a shaggy dog — a poodle or 

^ In this case of the use of the extraordinary and ungrammatical adjective 
which has unfortiinately been so frequently adopted, one can hardly doubt 
that Linnseus meant to write, and very likely did write (in an abbreviated form, 
as was his habit), cayensis iov cayennensis, which he afterwards misread, and 
unluckily clenched the mistake by adding, " Hab. ad Cap. b. Spei." 

^ Garrod {Proc. Zool. Soc. 1879, p. 935) and Forbes {op. cit. 1882, p. 94) used this 
term to include the Toucans and Honey-guides as well as the Barbets. Of 
course if these Families, IndicatoridaR, Capitonidm, and BJiampliastidse, be united 
in one, the last is the name it should bear. 


Marshall (London: 1870-71, 4to), who divide the Family into 
three subfamilies : — Pogon(yrhynchinse, with 3 genera and 15 species; 
Megalmninge, with 6 genera and 44 species ; and Capitoninse, with 
4 genera and 18 species. Since the appearance of that work one 
new genus and some thirty new species have been described. 
Supposing that the subfamilies above named be truly established, 
it Avould seem that the CaintoninEe, of which members are now to be 
found in the New World as well as in Africa and Asia, may from 
its wide distribution be regarded as the most ancient, and next the 
Pogonorhynchinse, inhabiting both America and Africa, Avhile the 
Megalseminm, restricted to Africa and Asia, appears to be the most 
modern subfamily, and two genera belonging to it, Megalmma and 
Xantliolmma are found in India and Ceylon. They are birds mostly 
of a bright green plumage, some of them variegated, especially on 
the head, with scarlet, violet, blue, or yellow — though others are 
plainly coloured. All of them seem to live chiefly on fruit, but 
insects occasionally form part of their food, and in captivity they 
become carnivorous. They breed in holes of trees, laying white 
eggs, and most, if not all of them, utter a clear ringing note, so loud 
as to attract general attention. The cry of Xantholaima indica is 
especially resonant ; and, being accompanied by a peculiar motion 
of the head, has obtained for the bird in some of the native languages 
a name signifying Coppersmith, by which English rendering it is 
also known to Anglo-Indians. 

BARGANDER or Bergander, a local name, of uncertain origin 
and spelling, of the Sheld-drake. 

BARKER, a name locally applied, from their cry, to the Black- 
tailed GODWIT and the Avoset in the days when they inhabited 
England. Albin, a very poor authority, figured under this name 
what was certainly a Greenshank, though Montagu took it to be 
Totanus fiiscus, and hence an error has found its way {sub voce) into 
Dr. Murray's New English Dictionary. 

BARLEY-BIRD, a name given in some parts to the Yellow 
Wagtail, in others to the Wryneck — but in both cases from their 
appearing at the time of barley-sowing. By some authors it is said, 
but obviously in error, to be applied to the Siskin. 

BARWING, the Anglo-Indian name for birds of the genus 
Actinodura, from the black bar or bars Avhich the wings of most of 
them jDresent. The genus is usually placed in the ill-defined Family 

BASIPTERYGOID PROCESSES are a pair of bony outgrowths 
on the right and left side of the body of the basisphcnoid, forming 
the principal articulation of the pterygoids with the basis cranii. 
Such processes are Avell developed in all the Ratitte, Crypturi, 


Turnices, and Striges. Similar processes spring from the basi- 
sphenoidal rostrum in many other Carinatae, e.g. Anseres, Gallinae, 
Cokimbae, Pteroclidse, Cathartidse, and Serpentarius ; while in many- 
birds these processes are developed in the embryo but are resorbed 
finally, or they are never developed, the anterior ends of the 
pterygoids in either case articulating with the palatine bones alone, 
or, resting directly upon the basisphenoidal rostrum, as in Phoeni- 
copterus, Grallae, Laridae, Dicholophus, Pygopodes, Impennes, 
Steganopodes, Falconidse, Psittaci, Cuculidse, Opisthocomus, Macro- 
chires, Pici, and Passeres. In the Limicolse and Tubinares these 
processes are very variable. For illustrations see Skull. 

BAYA (Hindoo Baid), often used by English writers for the 
common Weaver-bird of India, Ploceus baya, the builder of the well- 
known retort-shaped nests. 

BAY-BIRD, and 

BEACH-BIRD, common names on the Atlantic coast of North 
America for several of the Limicolse, as the Sanderling^, Turn- 
stone, and others. (Cf. Trumbull, Names and Portraits of Birds, 
pp. 186, 191 note.) 

BEAK, see Bill. 

BEAM-BIRD, said to be the name used in some parts of 
England for the Spotted Flycatcher. 

BEE-EATER, a name apparently first used in 1668 by Charleton 
(Onomasticon, p. 87) as a translation of the Latin and Greek Merops, 
though he said that the bird was rarely or never found in England 
— the Merops apiaster of ornithology. The term being appropriate 
(as is shewn by its equivalent in cognate tongues — Danish, Biseder ; 
German, Bienenfresser) has been continued to this species, and sub- 
sequently extended to others more or less closely allied to it, form- 
ing a small but natural Family, Merop)ida}, admirably monographed 
by Mr. Dresser (London : 1884-1886, imp. 4 to), who recognizes five 
genera, and thirty-one species. They belong to the group in this 
work termed Picarise, and are distinguished for their brilliant colora- 
tion, their graceful form, and their active habits, since every species 
seems to obtain its living by catching insects as they fly. The Bee- 
eaters are birds of the Old World, and the majority (18) of the 
species are peculiar to the Ethiopian Region, two more also occurring 
Anthin its limits, while only four inhabit the Palaearctic area, one of 
them being the M. apiaster named above, which appears irregularly 
in Northern Europe in summer, and has more than thirty times 
visited Great Britain since its first recorded occurrence in June 
179.3, when a flight of about twenty was observed in Norfolk, and 
a specimen obtained at that time is still preserved in the Derby 
Museum at Liverpool. 


It is certainly one of the most beautifully-coloured birds ever 
found in these islands, and no one who has once seen a specimen 
will forget its rich chestnut crown and mantle passing lower down 
into primrose, its white frontal band, the black patch extending 
from the bill to the ear -coverts, the saffron throat bordered with 
black, while most of the rest of the plumage is of a vivid greenish- 
blue or bluish-green, and the middle pair of tail feathers are 
elongated and attenuated in a way that is not seen in any other 
British land-bird. This formation of the tail characterizes also the 
single species of the genus Meropogon, while Dicrocercus has the tail 
deeply forked, and in MelUtophagus and Nydiornls it is nearly even, 
but the last, containing two species — one ranging from Burma to 
Borneo, and the other (the largest of the whole Family) inhabiting 
India as well as Burma and Cochin China — is readily distinguishable 
by the remarkable elongated feathers of the gular tract. Six species 
of the Family shew themselves in the Cape Colony or parts imme- 
diately adjacent, and one, Merops ornatus, occurs over almost the 
whole of Australia. 

The Meropiclx have much in common with the Coraciidx 
(Eoller), Alcedinidx (KinCtFISHEr), Momotldie (Motmot), and 
especially with the Galbulidx (Jaca]MAr), for not only are there 
many anatomical resemblances between the birds of these Families, 
but nearly all of them, so far as is kno'\^Ti — the Eollers perhaps 
being the chief exceptions — breed in holes made by themselves in 
a bank of earth, and the Bee-eaters, or at least the species of the 
genus Merops, it would seem, nearly always in society. 

BEEF-EATER, see Ox-pecker. 

BELL-BIRD is the English name given in various parts of the 
world to very different species ; but always from the resemblance 
of the soimd of the note they utter to that of a bell. In Guiana, 
it is applied to the Campanero of the Spanish settlers, ChasmorJu/n- 
chus niveiis, belonging to the Family Cotingidie (Chatterer), of Avhich 
^Yaterton wrote {iranderings, 2nd Journey): "He is about the size 
of the jay. His plumage is white as snow. On his forehead rises a 
spiral tube nearly three inches long. It is jet black, dotted all over 
with small white feathers. It has a communication with the palate, 
and when filled Avith air, looks like a spire ; when empty it becomes 
pendulous.^ His note is loud and clear, like the sound of a bell, 
and may be heard at the distance of three miles. . . . You hear 

^ In the allied species from Costa Rica, C tricamnculatus — so called from its 
three elongated appendages, which in appearance call to mind the long pendants 
of an orchid (Ciipripedium caudatum) — Mr. Salvin records his impression (Ibis, 
1865, p. 93) that "no inflation takes place, and that the bird possesses little or 
no voluntary muscular control over these excrescences." The f;ict that the 
Brazilian species, C. nudicoUis, utters a note which, if not actually "bell-like " in 


liis toll, and then a pause for a minute, then another toll, and then 
a pause again, and then a toll, and again a pause. Then he is silent 
for six or eight minutes, and then another toll, and so on." In 
New Zealand the name is given to the AntJiornis melanura of the 
Family Mcli])hagidai (Honey-sucker), whose melody struck the 
companions of Cook, when on his second voyage the ship was 
lying in Queen Charlotte's Sound, as being " like small bells most 
exquisitely tuned " — a bird Avhich owing to the destruction of the 
forests no longer exists in most parts of that country, and will 
speedily become extinct. In Australia, according to Gould, two 
species of birds — one of them, Manorhina melanophrys, belonging to 
a difterent genus of the Family last-named, and the other, Orececa 
cristata, possibly to the Laniidse (Shrike) — are called by the same 
name for the same reason. 

BEiSTGALI, the dealers' name for the beautiful little African 
bird, Fringilla bengalus of Linnseus, and some of its allies, belonging 
to the Floceldm (Weaver-bird), and referred by later -writers to 
the genus Estrilda, Pytelia or Ursegnathus. The name originated 
with Brisson (Ornithol. iii. p. 203), who believed these birds came 
from Bengal. 

BERGHAAN (Mountain-cock) the name given to some of the 
larger Eagles, and especially to the beautiful Helotarsus ecaudatus 
(sometimes known as the " Bateleur "), by the Dutch colonists in 
South Africa, and often adopted by English residents (Layard, 
B. S. Africa, pp. 11, 18). 

BERNACLE, apparently the right way of spelling the word 
often Avritten, in accordance with its pronunciation, " Barnacle " or 
"Barnicle." Its derivation is as puzzling to the etymologist as is 
to the ornithologist the discovery of the breeding-grounds of the 
bird it denominates. Dr. Murray, under the word " Barnacle " in 
the N'eiv English Dictionary, gives as the oldest known English form 
the Bernehke (Latinized Bernaca) of Giraldus Cambrensis about 

tone, has a clear metallic ring, though the bird, as may be seen by the figure, has 
no caruncle, shews that this feature is not likely to be connected with the power 
of producing the peculiar sound. A fourth species, C. variegatus, inhabits 

Chasmoehynchus nudicollis. (After Swaiiison.) 

Trinidad and the neighbouring part of South America. Its loud note is likened 
by Leotaud (Ois. Trinidad, p. 260) to the sound of a cracked bell. 


1175 ; and states that the Cirriped {Le'pas, anatifera), also so-called, 
took its name from the Bird, a kind of GooSE, and not the Bird 
from the Cirriped. 

BILCOCK, said to be a local name for the Water-RAIL. 

BILL or BEAK, in Latin Rostrum. This consists of an upper, 
chiefly premaxillary and maxillary, and of a lower, or mandibular, 
half. The horny covering is to a certain extent moulded after the 
shape of the supporting bones. The soft cutaneous portion of the 
skin is frequently restricted to a thin layer between the periosteum 
and the Malpighian layer of the epiderm ; in it run numerous blood- 
vessels and nerves, the latter occasionally penetrating the horny 
layer, and ending in tactile or sensory corpuscles. 

On the other hand, in very stout beaks, the cutaneous layer 
forms conical elongations which project into the thick horny parts, 
especially into the ends of the upper and lower bill. In the broad 
edge of the mandible of Parrots such projections are particularly 
numerous and long ; when they calcify, as cutaneous structures 
are liable to do, they bear in horizontal sections a superficial 
resemblance to the germs of teeth, and have been mistaken as such 
by various anatomists (see Teeth). 

The horny sheath, or rhamphotheca, is produced by the 
outer layers of the Malpighian cells, and resembles in structure 
other horny parts, as Claws, nails, and spurs. Sometimes, as 
in the Anseres, the greater portion of the outer sheath of the bill is 
soft, and only the tip of the bill is transformed into a thick horny 
"neb," which contains numerous tactile organs. In some birds, 
especially in the diurnal Birds -of- Prey and in the Parrots, the 
greater portion of the distal end of the upper beak is hard, while the 
basal portion is thick and soft — the so-called cere. It is generally 
very sensitive, and encloses the nostrils. Though mostly bare, 
it is in some Parrots thickly covered with feathers, and then 
approaches in structure the ordinary skin. The neighbourhood of 
the nostrils is often soft, and produces an operculum by which, in 
some cases, the external nares can apparently be closed, although 
no muscles seem to exist there. Such a soft and swollen operculum 
is a prominent feature in Pigeons, and is very large and curled in 
Rhinochetus (Kagu). In the Petrels each operculum forms a more 
or less complete tube, Avhich may or may not fuse with its counter- 
part in the middle line, and thus produce an apparently single tube 
with a longitudinal vertical septum, whence the name " Tubinares." 

A leathery operculum or valve also occurs in Plovers, in 
Podargus, many Passeres (especially shewn in Meliphagidw), and 
in the Humming-birds, in the last being covered with feathers. In 
Caprimulgus each nostril is produced into a short, narrow, and 
quite soft tube. 

Another differentiating feature in connexion with the nostrils 

BILL 33 

and the rostrum is the presence or absence of a complete vertical 
internasal . septum. If the septum is complete, which seems to 
be the primary condition, the right and left nasal cavities are 
completely separated from each other, and birds having this 
structure are said to possess nares impervise. The septum either 
remains cartilaginous, or it ossifies to a variable extent. Con- 
sequently in macerated skeletons, where only the bony parts 
remain, this character cannot be determined. In comparatively 
few birds is the ossification comjjlete, but this occurs in the 
Owls, in Podargus, in some Accipitres, Parrots, and others. When 
the septum is incomplete, the right and left nostrils communicate 
with each other, forming nares perv'm, as in Phaethon, among the 
Steganopodes, in the Herons, Grebes, Divers, Grallae (except Rhino- 
chetus), Gavise, Limicolee, Storks, Flamingos, Anseres, Cathartidse 
(but not in the Vulturidse and Falconidae), and in many Passeres, 
especially in the Meliphagidae. In some Steganopodes, for instance 
in the Cormorants, the nostrils are reduced to narrow slits, and this 
condition is carried to an extreme in the Gannets, the external 
nostrils being absolutely closed, and the greater portion of the nasal 
cavity obliterated or filled with cancellated bony tissue ; how- 
ever, the olfactory apparatus is well developed, the inner nostrils or 
Choan^e being very "vvide, and in open communication with the 
mouth, enabling the Gannet to smell its food when in the mouth. 

Various parts of the rostrum have received special names : 
culmen, the dorsal ridge of the upper bill ; apex or tip ; dertrum, 
in which it often terminates ; gonys, or more correctly genys, the 
prominent ridge formed by the united halves of the under jaw, 
e.g. in Gulls ; tomia, the cutting edges of the bill. 

The form of the bill exhibits almost infinite variations in size, 
shape, and structure, of which only the most striking modifications 
can here be dealt with. Generally shape and size stand in obvious 
correlation "with the mode of feeding, but sexual selection seems 
also to play a great part, and leads to formations which it is often 
impossible to understand. 

The horny sheath of the bill sometimes consists of a number 
of pieces more or less separate. In the Ostriches and Tinamous 
there is a lateral pair and an unpaired piece for each jaw ; in the 
Tubinares on the upper jaw at least one pair of lateral or maxillary 
pieces, an unpaired piece which covers the culmen and is continued 
into the prolonged nasal tubes, and an apical hook, strongly curved 
and pointed : each half of the under jaw is covered by one 
ventral, one dorsal, and one terminal piece, the latter partly fusing 
^vith that of the other side into a strong scoop. Indications 
of such a compound rhamphotheca are, however, found in other 
birds, especially in the Steganopodes, in some Herons, like 
ISTycticorax and Scopus, and in Penguins ; the culminar or dorsal 

34 BILL 

unpaired piece being more or less separated from the lateral 
pieces. In the majority of birds the horny covering forms one 
coherent sheath. 

Frequently the edges of the mandibles and of the maxillae are 
serrated to secure a firmer hold upon the food, for instance in 
Toucans. In the Anseres these tooth-like serrations are arranged in 
the shape of numerous transverse lamellae, and hence the name 
" Lamellirostres," which, especially in the Shoveler, form an elaborate 
sifting apparatus. 

The bill of the Flamingos is likewise furnished with such sifting 
lamellae ; the two halves of the under jaw are considerably enlai-ged, 
so that the comparatively narrow upper jaw closes upon a wide 
cavity. In addition to this the whole bill is bent downwards, 
in some species rather abruptly ; these long-necked birds being thus 
enabled to sift the soft mud of lagoons with their bill in an inverted 
position, the dorsal surface of the bill being turned towards the 
bottom. Undoubtedly this most peculiar bill is a secondarily 
acquired character, referable to the mode of feeding, which again 
is connected Avith the long neck and legs. This view is 
strengthened by the fact that very young Flamingos still have 
straight and short bills, which very gradually and only compara- 
tively late assume the final shape. 

Fine sifting lamellae occur also in Frion (Whalebird), and as a 

dense brushlike mass on the inside of the premaxillary region in 

Anastomus. The jaws of this genus have the further peculiarity 

that 'oiibj^v do not shut completely, being slightly curved in opposite 


In the Sposnonbilled Sandpiper, JEurinorhynchus pygmmus, the 
end of the upper asmd lower bill is of a peculiar spatulate and heart- 
shaped form. X 

The broad and flat^'-,tened spatulate bill of the Spoonbills, the 
boat or shoe-shaped bill o^ the Whale-headed Stork, Balseniceps, and 
of the Cancroma (BoatbiiV.l), the long bills of the Ibis and the 
Whimbrel, curved downwardig^ and upwards in the Avoset, need no 
further comment but that the >.y all are illustrations of the adapta- 
tion to a special mode of life, iQ^nd therefore not necessarily indica- 
tive of relationship, as rather an«,^|ogous than homologous structures. 
The beak of Parrots is ext j-e^^ely strong, and well adapted 
to the breaking open of nuts by )sheer force. The mandible ends 
in a transverse blunt edge, which\ presses against a corresponding 
horny prominence of the upper \ beak. In the large Microglossa 
(Cockatoo), Avhich lives on the stt^-,ne-hard fruit of the kanari-tree 
(Canarium commune), the beak lieai^g a striking resemblance to a 
sledge-hammer. Transverse ridges, 1[{^q those of a file, are common 
in front of the prominence of the up, per jaw, the bird using them 
as a rasp — no Parrot swallowing a.^^ything but absolutely com- 

BILL 35 

minuted particles of hard substance, or pulpy and soft food — and 
also for filing or sharpening its mandible. 

In the Skimmer, Bhyncliops, the bill forms two sharp vertical 
blades, which somewhat gape asunder, with the further peculiarity 
that the mandibular sheath and the supporting bone itself is con- 
siderably larger than the upper portion. A vertically compressed 
bill is also common in the Alcidse, and is often vividly coloured 
dmdng the summer. In the Puffins the outermost bright layers 
of the horny sheaths, and the horny excrescences at the gape of 
the mouth and above the eyes are cast off periodically, these parts 
being developed for the breeding season (Bureau, Bull. Soc. Zool. 
France, 1877, p. 377/.) 

In many birds the covering of the bill, especially near the base 
of the culmen and the forehead, is swollen, and forms various pro- 
tuberances, horns, knobs, and other apparently ornamental excres- 
cences. In the Coots and in Musophaga (Plantain -eater) 
the coating of the culmen is produced backwards over the fore- 
head, overlapping the latter as a conspicuous white or yellow 
soft plate. Often the underlying bones, especially the nasals 
and the adjoining premaxillary parts, are also swollen, and 
form a light and extremely spongy meshwork of cancellated bony 
tissue, a peculiarity which attains its highest development in the 
HoRNBiLLS and in the Toucans. Similar swellings are the knobs 
on the bill or on the forehead of the Scoter and Mute Swan, of 
Globicera among Pigeons, of certain Cracidse, and of Macrocephalon 
(Megapode). In most of these cases the swellings are very light ; 
rarely, as in the Helmet -Hornbill, the bones of the forehead 
are greatly enlarged, and, although much cancellated, of great 
weight and strength ; moreover, the horny epidermal covering of 
the forehead is three quarters of an inch thick, and of the hardness 
and weight of ivory. 

Another deviation is constantly found in the Crossbill's beak, 
the sharply -pointed and hooked ends of the upper and lower jaws 
crossing each other in an individually varying way, there being an 
equal number of right and left -billed specimens. This crossing 
begins to shew itself before the young birds are fledged, increases 
with age, and ultimately leads to an asymmetrical development of 
the masticatory muscles and of the bones of the occipito-quadrate 

In Anarhynchus frontalis (Wrybill) the terminal half of the 
bill is turned towards the right side, an abnormality which exists 
in a marked degree even in the very young birds. The right 
edges of the premaxilla and of the mandible are thin and strongly 
turned inwards, so that the right and left sides are asymmetrical 
in section. The left nostril and the groove which is continued 
towards the terminal third of the bill remain in their original 


position, but the right nostril, and still more the groove, are 
perceptibly slanting towards the right, as can be ascertained by 
viewing the bill from the dorsal side. 

Sexual Dimorphism is mostly restricted to peculiarly shaped 
bills ; for instance, the horn of the male Hornbills is often larger, 
and differs in shape from that of the female. In the males of 
Pelicans several unpaired excrescences are formed entirely by the 
horny coating of the premaxilla ; they sometimes reach a height of 
three to four inches, and are again cast off after the breeding 
season, resembling in the latter feature the Auks, as described 

The most striking example of dimorphic bills is that of the New- 
Zealand HuiA, Heterolocha, the bill of the female being slender, 
about four inches long, and much curved, while that of the male is 
nearly straight, stout, and scarcely half that length. The knobs or 
swellings in the Gallinse are mostly restricted to the males ; the 
same applies to (Edemia (Scoter). Sexual differences in colour 
are common. For instance, in the male Scoter the bill is black and 
orange, in the young and in the female it is simply grey, and with- 
out the knob. The bill of the adult male Blackbird is orange- 
yellow ; that of the young of both sexes and of the adult males of 
Buceros malayanus (Hornbill) is white, but becomes black in the 
adult female, forming thus an interesting exception to the general 
rule that the young agree with the females, and that aberrant 
coloration is confined to the males. The colour of the bill is 
deposited as a diffused pigment in the horny cells of the epidermal 
coat, but is occasionally restricted to the deeper layers, or even 
to the Malpighian layer itself, then shining through the outer 
transparent layers. 

In connexion with the bill is to be mentioned the " egg-tooth," 
which is developed in the embryos of all birds as a small whitish 
protuberance or conglomeration of salts of calcareous matter, 
deposited in the middle layers of the epidermis of the tip of the 
upper bill, without being connected with the premaxilla itself. 
The sharp point of this " tooth " soon perforates the upper layers 
of the horny sheath, and then files through the eggshell, a slight 
crack in the latter being sufficient to enable the young bird to 
free itself. A similar egg-tooth exists in Reptiles, and is, as in 
Birds, cast off after hatching. The wearing away of the growing and 
constantly renewed horny layers of the bill can be easily observed 
in the pealing beak of a Parrot. 

BIRD (etymology unknown ; but in Old English Brid), origin- 
ally the general name for the young of animals ; ^ then, as the 

^ As ill Wyclif's translation of jVaUh. xxiii. 33, " cddris, and cddris briddis " 
(A.V. "serpents" and "generation of vipers"); Trevisa, Barlh dc P. It. xii. v. 


ancient word Fowl became specialized in meaning, taking its place 
to signify what cannot be more tersely expressed tban by the saying 
tbat " A bird is known by its feathers." This proverb is, accord- 
ing to our present knowledge, also a scientific definition, for no 
other group in the Animal Kingdom has the same kind of clothing 
(see Feathers), though, regarding as almost certain the evolution 
of Birds from Reptiles, it must be that at one time there existed 
creatures intermediate between them, and it may be that remains of 
some of them will yet be discovered, shewing that plumage was worn 
by animals which had not yet dropped all the characters that now 
distingiiish Eeptiles from Birds. The two Classes (Reptilia and Aves) 
have been brigaded together by Prof. Huxley under the name of 
Sauropsida, and there can be no doubt that they are essentially 
much more closely allied to each other than either is to the rest of 
the Vertebrates. It has of late years become manifest that among 
Eeptiles the forms which approach most nearly to Birds are those 
known as the Binosauria ; but of them there is not one yet dis- 
covered respecting the rank of which any reasonable doubt may 
be entertained, though certain parts of the skeleton, and particu- 
larly of the pelvic arch, present a remarkable resemblance to the 
corresponding parts of certain Birds, of the Ratit^ especially. On 
the other hand, the earliest known Bird, Archseopteryx, is less like 
the Dinosaurs than are the modern Eatitae. The gulf between 
Birds and Mammals is much wider than between the former and 
Reptiles, notwithstanding that the lowest of existing Mammals, the 
Monotremata, possess several bird-like characters in their structure, 
and, as is now proved, lay eggs (see Anatomy, Fossil Birds, and 

BIRD-OF-PARADISE, a phrase used in many European lan- 
guages since the return (6 Sept. 1522) of the first expedition for 
circumnavigating the globe, commonly known as Magellan's. In 
December 1521 the voyagers, then at Tidore, one of the Moluccas, 
were offered by the ruler of Batchian, as a gift to the King of Spain, 
two very beautiful dead birds, as we are told by Antonio Pigafetta 
the chronicler of the voyage (Primo Viaggio intorno al Gloho, ed. 
Amoretti, Milano : 1800, p. 156), who is generally believed to have 
been the first to introduce these birds to the notice of Europeans ; ^ 

415, " In temperat yeres ben fewe byrdes of been " [=bees], and op. cit. xiii. xxvi. 
458 " All fysshe . . . fede and kepe theyr byrdes " ; Scots Acts, 7 Jac. I. " The 
Woolfe and Woolfe-birdes [i.e. cubs] suld be slaine." The connexion formerly 
thought to exist between hird and hreed or brood is now denied {New English 
Dictionary, sub voce), but no approach to the derivation of the first has been 

■^ Pigafetta's account contains some details worthy of attention. It describes 
the birds as being as big as Thrushes, with a small head, a long bill, and slender 
legs like pens used for writing, about as long as a palm. They had no wings 


but it is now certain that he was anticipated by Maximilianus 
Transylvanus, a young man who was residing in the Spanish court 
on the arrival of the survivors of Magellan's company, and 
promptly wrote to his father, the Archbishop of Salzburg, an 
account of their discoveries and spoils, sending moreover to him 
one of the wonderful birds they had obtained. This account {Be 
Moluccis insulis &c.) ^ was published at Cologne in the January 
following, and the native name of the birds, of which it seems that 
five examples were brought home, is given as Mamuco-Diata, a 
variant of Manucodiata, meaning the Bird of the Gods, a name 
which seems to be still in use (cf. Crawfurd, Malay and Engl. Did. 
p. 97). But it may well be that even before this Birds-of -Paradise 
were known to Europeans, for the Portuguese reached the ]\Ioluccas 
in 1510, to say nothing of the possibility of skins being imported 
by Eastern traders at a much earlier period. Belon, who travelled 
in the Levant between 1546 and 1549, mentions {Observations 
de plusieurs singularitez &c. liv. iii. chap. 25), among the feathery 
adornments of the Janissaries, plumes which could hardly be other 
than those of these birds ; and expressly states that they were 
obtained from the Arabs. ^ His statement was first published in 
1553, and in the same year appeared the work of Cardanus, De 
Subtilitate, wherein (lib. x.) the Manucodiata, as the Bird-of-Paradise 
now began to be called (the adoption of its Malay name shewing 
that knowledge of it was derived from Spanish or Portuguese navi- 
gators), is made to support the author's argument. In 1555 it was 
again treated of by Belon, as well as by Gesner, who figured (p. 612) 
what seems to have been a specimen of Paradisea minor, both 
of them expressing doubt as to the truth of the stories which were 
already rife on the subject. Some of these were touched upon in 
1557 by J. C. Scaliger in his reply {Exotericarum exercitationum Liher 
XV. ccxxviii. 2) to Cardanus, while in 1599 Aldrovandus (Ornithol. 

(which were doubtless cut off) but in their place long feathers of different colours 
like great plumes (pennacchi), the tail like a Thrush's, and all the rest of the 
feathers, the wings excepted, of a dull colour. Much of this description fits the 
only species of Bird-of-Paradise that inhabits Batchian, the ruler of which 
island, as above stated, gave the birds ; but that species remained unknown to 
naturalists until Mr. Wallace procured examples in October 1858 {Malay Archi- 
pelago, ii. ]ip. 40, 41), and it was subsequently described as Semioptera 

1 I have not seen the original, but a fac-simile reprint, together with a trans- 
lation of it, is given by the late Mr. Henry Stevens of Vermont in his Johann 
ScJwner &c., edited by Mr. C. PI. Coote (London : 1888). 

^ He said that they belonged to birds called llhintaces, which some 
modern writers identified with the Apus of classical authors, though he himself 
thought they were the feathers of the Phcenix. A plausible case might indeed 
be made out for connecting the legend of the bird last-named with that of the 
gods and of ])ara(lise. 


lib. xii.), rejoicing of course in these absurd fables, severely took 
to task some of those who doubted them — among them Pigafetta 
himself, who is rated for declaring that Birds-of-Paradise had legs, 
for it was clear from the authorities cited that they had or ought 
to have none. Aldrovandus professedly figured five species, but only 
three of them can be referred with any certainty to the genus 

There would be little use in d^velling upon the many false 
assertions made by some of the older writers concerning these 
gorgeous and singular birds, nor is space here available to 
recount the way in which species after species has been discovered. 
The first naturalist who was able to observe anything of them in 
their own haunts seems to have been Lesson, who in July and 
August 1824 passed a fortnight at Dorey in New Guinea ( Fo?/. 
Coquille, Zoologie, ii. p.^ 436) ; but, though his remarks have in- 
terest, his opportunities are not worthy to be named "with those 
enjoyed \)j Mr. Wallace, who in the course of his long sojourn 
and wanderings in the Moluccas and neighbouring islands made 
the personal acquaintance of nearly every species then known, and 
indeed first brought to the notice of naturalists one most curious 
form, Semioptera wallacii. His admirable account of their habits 
may be read in one of the most accessible of books, his Malay 
Archipelago. Varied as is the appearance of the several forms 
of Paradiseidx, most of them are sufficiently well known to require 
no description here. In 1873 Mr. Elliot completed a fine Mono- 
graph of the Family, which he divided into 3 subfamilies — 
Paradiseinds, with 1 genera and 1 7 species ; PJpimachinse, with 4 
genera and 8 species ; and Tedonarchinse — the last comprising the 
Bo^^rER-BiRDS, and including in all 36 species, of which 22 inhabit 
New Guinea. In 1881 Prof. Salvadori enumerated 39 species, 
which he disposed of in 21 genera, as occurring within the scope 
of his elaborate Ornitologia della Papuasia e delle Molucche. Recent 
explorations, mostly by German naturalists, and especially by Dr. 
Hunstein, have considerably increased this number, and the repre- 
sentatives of two very distinct and beautiful new forms Astrarchia 
stephanise and Paradisornis rudolphi, to say nothing of two fine species 
of the old genus Paradisea, P. gidielmi-ii., and P. augustse-vidorise, 
by their names testify to the loyalty of Drs. Finsch, A. B. Meyer, 
and Cabanis, who have described them (Zeitschr. ges. Orn. 1885, 
pp. 369-391, pis. xv.-xxii. ; transl. Ibis, 1886, pp. 237-258, pi. vii. ; 
and Journ.f. Orn. 1888, p. 119, 1889, pis. i. ii.) 

The Paradiseidx are admittedly true Passeres, but their exact 

position cannot be said to have been absolutely determined, though 

there can be little doubt of their forming part of the group 

indefinitely known as " Austrocoraces " ^ — to which so many forms 

^ The Noto-Coracomoiyhse of Parker {Trans. Zool. Soc. ix. p. 327). 


of the Australian Region belong — and the precise limits of the 
Family must still be regarded as uncertain (see Bower -BIRD, 
Manucode, and Rifleman-bird). 

BIRD-OF-PREY, a phrase in common use, signifying any 
member of the Order Accipitres of Linnaeus (the Shrikes being 
generally excepted) or of the Raptores of many later systematists. 

BISHOP-BIRD, or Bishop-Tanager, Latham's rendering {Gen. 
Synops. ii. p. 226) of the French V]^vique,'hj which a species inhabiting 
Louisiana was, according to Dupratz (Hist, de la Louisiane, ii. p. 140), 
originally called, as stated by BufFon (Hist. Nat. Ois. iv. p. 291). 
Dupratz's bird was probably the Spiza cyanea of modern ornithology, 
the Indigo-bird or Indigo-Bunting of the English in North America ; 
but Buffon confounded it with his Organiste of Santo Domingo — 
a very different species figured by D'Aubenton (PL enl. 809, fig. 1) ; 
while Brisson (Orn. iii. p. 40) had already applied the French 
name (I'Evesque, as he wrote it) to a third species from Brazil, 
which subsequently became the Tanagra episcopus of Linnaeus, and 
this seems to be the only one now known (and that to few but 
"fanciers") as the "Bishop-Bird" or " Bishop-TANAGER " — the 
colour of its plumage suggesting, as in the original case, the 
appellation. Audubon, himself a Louisianian, makes no mention of 
the name "Bishop-Bird"; but says (B. Amer. iii. p. 96) that it was 
known to his countrymen as the Petit PapeUeu. He adds that the 
first settlers called all the Buntings, Finches and " Orioles " Papes. 

BITTERN (in older English "Bittour," "Botor," and "Buttour") 
cognate with the French Butor, and of obscure origin says Dr. 
Murray,^ though Belon's suggestion, made in 1555, connecting it 
with a bird described by Pliny (lib. x. cap. xlii.), which imitates 
the lowing of oxen (bourn), and hence was called taurus in the 
district of Arelate ^ (Aries), may be correct ; for the bird is the 
Botaurus of some mediaeval writers, and their name is still kept 
by systematists as that of the genus to which the Bittern belongs. 
Turner, in 1544, gave as an English synonym " Mired romble " ; 
while " Butter-bump " (corrupted into " Botley-bump ") and perhaps 
other uncouth forms have reference to the booming or belloA^ng 
sound for which this species was famous. 

^ It seems, however, not to be connected, as lie thinks, with the mediiieval 
Latin Bitorius for that is generally glossed JVre&nna (When) or sometimes as 
" Earth linger " or " Yrdling." It may not signify a bird at all, but a Shrew- 
Mouse — Araneus, in English a "[w]ranner." Butio seems also to be meant by 
mediajval writers in some cases, and a hopeless confusion has been established 
between that word and BiUeo, a Buzzard. 

- According to Holland {Faun. Fop. France, p. 376) it is known in some parts 
of France as Bceuf d'eau, Taureau d'^tang, and other names of similar import. 



The Bittern is the Botaurus stellaris of ornithology, belonging 
to the Family Ardeidai (Heron), but to a genus fairly separable, 
more perhaps on account of its almost wholly nocturnal habits and 
correspondingly -adapted coloration, than on strictly structural 
grounds, though some differences of proportion are observable. It 
was formerly an abundant bird in many parts of Britain ; but, 
since the reclamation of the bogs and fens it used to inhabit, it is 
become only an irregular visitant, — though not a winter passes 

without its appearing in some numbers, when its uncommon aspect, 
its large size, and beautifully - pencilled plumage cause it to be 
regarded as a great prize by the lucky gun-bearer to whom it falls 
a \'ictim. Its value as a delicacy for the table, once so highly 
esteemed, has long vanished. The old fable of this bird inserting 
its beak into a reed or plunging it into the ground, and so causing 
the booming sound with which its name will be always associated, 
is also exploded, and nowadays indeed so few people in Britain 
have ever heard its loud and awful voice, which seems to be 
uttered only in the breeding-season, and is therefore unknown in a 


country where it no longer breeds/ that incredulity as to its boom- 
ing at all has in some quarters succeeded the old belief in this as 
in other reputed peculiarities of the species. The Bittern is found 
from Ireland to Japan, in India, and throughout the whole of 
Africa — suitable localities being, of course, understood. Australia 
and NeAV Zealand have a kindred species, B. poeciloptilus, and North 
America a third, B. mugitans or B. lentiginosus. The former is said 
to bellow like a bull, but authorities differ as to the vocal powers 
of the latter,^ which has several times wandered to Europe, and is 
distinguishable by its smaller size and uniform greyish-brown prim- 
aries, which want the tawny bars that characterize B. stellaris. 
Nine other species of Bitterns from various parts of the world are 
admitted by Schlegel (3£us. P.-B. Ardese, pp. 47-56), but some of 
them should perhaps be excluded from the genus Botcmrus ; on the 
other hand, Dr. Reichenow {Joiirn. f. Orn. 1877, pp. 241-251), by 
comprehending the birds of the Group Ardetta, — commonly known 
as "Little Bitterns," and differing a good deal from the true 
Bitterns — makes the whole number of species twenty-two. 

BLACKBIRD, the common, but not the most ancient,^ name of 
the Ousel, the Turdus menda,^ of Linneeus and most ornithologists, 
one of the best known of British birds ; but since conferred in dis- 
tant countries on others whose only resemblance to the original 
bearer lies in their colour, as in North America to several members 
of the Ideridse (Grackle and Icterus), in the West Indies to the 
species of Crotophaga (Ani), and perhaps to more in other lands. 
Occasionally too in translations of Scandinavian Avorks it is used 
to render Svartfugl — the general name for the Alcida} (Auk) — of 
which indeed it is an equivalent, but its use in that capacity tends 
to mistakes. 

BLACKCAP, the Sylvia atricapilla of ornithology, one of the 
most delicate songsters of the British Islands, and fortunately of 
general distribution in summer. To quote the praise bestoAved 
upon it in more than one passage by Gilbert White Avould be 

^ The last recorded instance of the Bittern breeding in England was in 1S6S, 
as mentioned by Stevenson {Birds of Norfolk, ii. p. 164). All the true Bitterns, 
so far as is known, lay eggs of a light olive-brown colour. 

- Richardson, a most accurate observer, positively asserts {Fauna Borcall- 
Americana, ii. p. 374) that its booming exactly resembles that of its European 
congener, but few American ornithologists, Mr. Torrey {Auk, 1SS9, pp. 1-S) 
excepted, seem to have heard it in perfection. 

3 Its earliest use seems to be in the Boole of St. Alhans in 14S6, where it 
occurs as "blacke bride." 

■* By some unhappy accident the order of these A\'ords is reversed in Dr. 
Murray's New Emjlish DklionarTj. The bird has been named Morula atra, but 
never Mcrula turdus (as therein stated) by Linuanis or any one else. 


superfluous. Enough to say that its tones always brought to his 
mind the lines in As You Like It (Act ii. so. 5) : 

" And turn his merry note 
Unto the sweet bird's throat." 

The name, however, is only applicable to the cock bird of this species, 
Avho further difters from his browncapped mate by the pure ashy- 
grey of his upper plumage ; but notwithstanding the marked sexual 
difference in appearance, he shares with her the duty of incubation, 
and has been declared by more than one writer to sing while so 
emploj^ed — a statement that seems hardly credible. Closely allied 
to the Blackcap, which, it may be said, is a regular summer visit- 
ant, though examples have sometimes occurred in winter in England, 
are the so-called Garden- Warbler, Sylvia salicaria (S. or Curruca 
Jiortensis of some authors), and the White-throat. 

But the name Blackcap is also applied to some other birds, and 
both in this country and in North America especially to certain 
species of Titmouse and Gull which have the top of the head 
black, as well as locally to the Stonechat and Reed-BUNTING. 

BLACKCOCK, the male of the bird to which the name Grows 
or Grouse seems to have been originally given. 

BLEATER, a name for the Snipe, from the noise it makes in its 
love-flights, the cause of which has given rise to much discussion. 

BLIGHT-BIRD, see Zosterops. 

BLOOD is the fluid which circulates through the heart, arteries, 
and veins. It is mixed Avith lymph, its corpuscles being suspended 
in a fluid called blood-plasm. The arterial blood is of a lighter 
red than the venous, which is more purple blood. Blood shews 
the following composition : — 

1. Fied blood-corpuscles, oval, flat disks, "with rounded-off margins 
and a central nucleus which forms a slight swelling : they con- 
tain a substance known as hsemoglobin, which, combining with the 
oxygen of the blood, causes the latter's red colour. These red 
corpuscles are present even in a small drop of blood in innumerable 
numbers ; they are largest in the Cassowary, smallest in Humming- 
birds, their smallest axis measuring about mm. y^q- or yYi") their 
larger axis from mm. -^ to xft- 

2. JVhite-hlood or lympJi-corpuscles ; by far less numerous, colour- 
less, and of very variable size (from mm. 5-^0- to xw)j shewing lively 
amoiboid motions. 

3. The hlood-plasm, consisting of fibrin and serum. The latter 
is a fluid, frequently yellowish, and is composed of water, albumen, 
and various salts. 


The function of the blood is this : The arterial blood in the 
capillaries of the body gives olf its oxygen to the tissues of the 
body ; the lymph, charged with the nutritive elements derived 
through the process of digestion, bathes the same tissues by leaving 
the capillaries, and is collected again into lymphatic vessels, being 
ultimately emptied into the big veins of the body, to be mixed 
again with the deoxydized blood returning likewise through the 
veins from the capillaries of the whole body. All this exhausted 
blood is, together with the lymph, received into the right auricle of 
the heart, thence pumped through the right ventricle and the 
pulmonary arteries into the capillaries of the lungs, there to give 
up its carbonic acid, and to be charged again with oxygen. 
Returning through the pulmonary veins into the left auricle, and 
thence into the left ventricle, it is forced by the contraction of the 
latter into the arteries of the body to commence its circulation 

The lymph is a fluid like the blood -plasm, slightly yellowish 
or colourless and containing only white, but no red, blood- 

BLOOD-BIRD, one of the species of the genus Myzomela, 
belonging to the Meliphagidse (Honey-SUCKEr), so called in New 
South Wales — M. sanguinolenta (Latham). (Gould, Handb. B. 
Australia, i. p. 555.) 

BLOOD -OLPH, a not uncommon local name of the Bull- 

BLOOD-PHEASANT, the Anglo-Indian name for the Ithaginis 
cruentus of ornithologists, one of the most beautiful game-birds of 
the mountains of Eastern Nepal and Sikkim, so called from the 
blood-red blotches with which its otherwise green plumage is 
diversified. A second species of the genus, /. geoffroyi, has been 
described from Northern China. By some systematists they are 
referred to the subfamily Perdicinse, by others to the Phasianinse. 
(Jerdon, B. India, iii. p. 522.) 

BLUEBIRD, in North America the appropriate name of the no 
less familiar than favourite Sialia wilsoni, or sialis of ornithology, 
and of its congeners *S'. mexicana or occidentalism and S. arctica : — 
the first, with a chestnut throat and breast, being an abundant bird 
on the eastern side of the continent, appearing also in Bermuda ; 
the second, with the middle of the back and breast chestnut, taking 

^ By some writers »S'. mexicana h regarded as distinct from S. occidcntalis, 
and there seems little doubt that S. azurca of Central America may be considered 
a good species. Mr. Seebohm {Cat. B. Brit. Mus. v. p. 32S) places in this 
genus the Grandala cozlicolor of the Himnlaya and other mountain-ranges in 


its place further to the south and westward ; and the third, of a 
lighter hue and with no chestnut, being the north-western form. 
The genus Sialia is one of those that are midway between the re- 
puted Families Sylviiclse (Warbler) and Turdidx (Thrush), and with 
Moiiticola and some others shew how hard it is to maintain any 
valid distinction between them. The Bluebirds of North America 
breed in holes of trees, and seem all to lay pale blue spotless eggs. 
In "Western India^ Ceylon, and Burma, the name Bluebird is equally 
well bestowed on the Irena puella of modern ornithologists, which 
is commonly referred to the chaotic groups Timeliidx or Crateropo- 
didse (Gates, Fauna of British India, Birds, i. pp. 239, 240), and has 
several representatives in the Indian Region (Jerdon, B. India, ii. 
p. 106); but the precise place of the genus must be regarded as 
uncertain. According to Mr. Layard {B. S. Afr. p. 365), in the 
seas of the Cape of Good Hope, the name is applied to a wholly 
different kind of bird, Diomedea fuliginosa (Albatros). 

BLUECAP, a common name of the Blue Titmouse Farus 


BLUETHROAT, the English name by which the beautiful Mota- 
cilla suecica of Linnaeus is now generally known. By some systematists 
it has been referred to the genus Ruticilla (Redstart) or to Erithacus 
(Redbreast), and by others regarded as the type of a distinct genus 
Cyanecula — the last view being perhaps justifiable. There are two, 
if not three, forms of Bluethroat in which the male is quite distin- 
guishable : — (1) the true C. suecica, with a bright bay spot in the 
middle of its clear blue throat, breeding in Scandinavia, Northern 
Russia, and Siberia, and wintering in Abyssinia and India, though 
rarely appearing in the intermediate countries, to the wonder of all 
who have studied the mystery of the migration of birds ; next there 
is (2) C. leucocyanea, with a white instead of a red gular spot, a 
more western form, ranging from Barbary to Germany and Holland ; 
and lastly (3) C. wolfi, thought by some authorities (and not without 
reason) to be but an accidental variety of the preceding (2), with 
its throat wholly blue, — a form of comparatively rare occurrence. 
The first of these is a not unfrequent, though very irregular visitant 
to England, while the second has appeared there but seldom, and 
the third never, so far as is known. The affinity of the Bluethroat 
to the Redstart is undeniable ; but it is not much further removed 
from the Nightingale, and forms a member of that group which 
connects the so-called Families Sylviidm (Warbler) and Turdidm 

BOAT-BILL, the Cancroma cochlearia of most ornithologists, a 
native of Tropical America, and the only species of its genus. It 
seems to be merely a Night-HERON (Nycticorax) with an exaggerated 
bill, so much widened as to suggest its English name, and its habits, 



so far as they are known, confirm the inference derived from its 
structure. The wonderful " Shoe-bird " or Whale-headed Stork 



(Balsenic&ps) is regarded by some authorities as allied to Cancroma ; 
but the present writer cannot recognize in it any close affinity to 
the Ardeidx. 

BOATSWAIjST, in seamen's ornithology, is a name applied to 
several kinds of birds, and was perhaps first given to some of the 
genus Stercorarius (Skua), though nowadays most commonly used 
for the species of Fhaethon (Tropic-bird), the projecting middle 
feathers of the tail in each being generally likened to the marline- 
spike that is identified with the business of that functionary, but 
probably the authoritative character assumed by both Skua and 
officer originally suggested the appellation. 

BOAT-TAIL, a common name applied to certain North- Ameri- 
can birds of the genus Quiscalus, belonging to the Family Ideridai 
(see Grackle and Icterus), from the power they have of holding 
the tail in the shape of a boat with the concavity uppermost. 

BOB-LINCOLN, BOBLINK, and BOBOLINK, names given by 
the English in North America to what is commonly called in books 
the Rice-Bunting, Dolichonyx ori/zivom, one of the best-known birds 
of that continent — valued for its song and still more for its sapidity, 
in which last respect it equals if it does not surpass the famed 


Ortolan. Its good qualities have been described at length by Alex- 
ander Wilson, Nuttall, and Audubon, to say nothing of more recent 
writers on North-American ornithology, and to those authors must 
reference be made for its description and an account of its habits. 
From the purely scientific point of view the form is one of consider- 
able interest, as it seems to connect the Emberizidx (Bunting) 
with the Ideridse (Grackle, Icterus) ; and, though generally con- 
sidered to belong to the latter, is rather a divergent member of 
that Family. It is a bird that performs vast migrations, breeding 
as high as lat. 54° N., and in winter visiting the Antilles and 
Central and South America as far as Paraguay. 

BOB-WHITE, a nickname of the Virginian Quail, Ortyx vir- 
ginianus, aptly bestowed from the call-note of the cock. 

BONE or osseous tissue consists of phosphate and carbonate of 
lime, salt, and a few other earthy substances. Hollow bones contain 
marrow, a fatty substance with delicate connective tissue, except 
where it has been driven out by the penetrating Air-sags. On 
the surface of a bone, covered by a fibrous membrane, the periosteum, 
there open small, often microscopic, holes, which as " Haversian 
Canals " are continued through the walls of the bone into larger spaces 
or cancelli, and ultimately into the marrow cavity. These render 
possible the entrance of blood-vessels, air-cells, and nerves. Bones 
which have their entire substance or diploe between the outer and 
the inner lamella filled with cavities and cancelli are called cancellated 
or spongy ; this is especially the case in the bones of the head of 
Owls, and to an enormous extent in the " horn " of the Hornbills. 
The bony substance forms consecutive layers around the Haversian 
canals. The layers themselves contain numerous irregular lacunae, 
formerly but wrongly called bone -corpuscles, from which radiate 
numerous extremely fine canaliculi ; these communicate with those 
of neighbouring lacunse and with the Haversian canals, securing 
thus access of blood and lymph to any part of the bone. 

Bone is never directly formed out of the indifferent embryonic 
tissue, it always passes through a stage of connective tissue. If 
this tissue ossifies directly, it becomes a primary or memhrctne 
bone ; if the tissue is cartilage and finally supplanted by bony 
tissue, the latter forms a secondary or cartilage bone. Most of the 
bones of a bird's skeleton pass during their development through 
such a cartilaginous stage. Membrane bones are principally some 
cf those forming the cranium, as the parietal, frontal, maxillse, and 
vomer. Bones which are developed in tendons by direct ossification 
are termed sesamoid bones, as the brachial and the crural patella. 
Either kind of bone can ossify from various centres, but these 
" centres of ossification " do not necessarily indicate that the bone 
in question is composed of a number of originally separate bones. 


In long bones especially the shaft ossifies first, while the ends 
remain for a long time cartilaginous as " epiphyses " and eventually 
ossify often from a centre of their own, and are only in the adult 
completely fused with the shaft, forming the articulating facets, 
or projecting " processes " for the attachment and leverage of 

BONXIE, the name by which the Great Skua, Stercm'arius 
catarrhades, is known in some of the Shetland Islands, its only 
British hahitat. 

BOOBY, said by Prof. Skeat {Ettjmol. Did.) to be derived from 
the Spanish or Portuguese hoho — a fool, and that from the Latin 
halbus — stuttering or inarticulate, a name applied, most likely by 
our seamen originally, to certain birds from their stupidity in alight- 
ing upon ships and allowing themselves to be easily taken by the 
hand.^- The Boobies are closely allied to the Gannet, and indeed 
can hardly be separated from the genus Sula, though they diff"er 
in having no median stripe of bare skin down the front of the 
throat, and they almost invariably breed upon trees instead of rocks, 
and are inhabitants of warmer climates. One of them, S. cyanops, 
Avhen adult has much of the aspect of a Gannet, but aS'. piscator is 
readily distinguishable by its red legs, and S. leucogaster by its upper 
plumage and neck of deep brown. These three are widely distri- 
buted within the tropics, and are in some places exceedingly abund- 
ant. A fourth, S. variegata, which seems to preserve throughout its 
life the spotted suit characteristic of the immature S. hassaiui, has a 
much more limited range, being as yet only known from the coast 
of Peru, where it is one of the birds which contribute to the forma- 
tion of guano. 

BOWER-BIRD, Gould's rather poetical name for some inhabit- 
ants of Australia which, while he was in that country he ascer- 
tained,^ as on his return he announced (25 August, 1840) to the 
Zoological Society, to have the extraordinary habit of building what 
the colonists commonly called " runs." " These constructions ", he 
rightly said (Proc. Zool. Soc. 1840, p. 94), "are perfectly anomalous 
in the architecture of birds, and consist in a collection of pieces of 
stick or grass, formed into a bower ; or one of them (that of the 
Chlaniydera) might be called an avenue, being about three feet in 
length, and seven or eight inches broad inside ; a transverse section 
giving the figure of a horse-shoe, the round part downwards. They 

^ Thus Purclias in his account of Davis's Second Voyage to India, in 1604-5, 
tells {Pilcjrimes, I. bk. iii. p. 132) of "fowles called Pashara boues " — which 
correctly spelt would be Paxaros bobos — at the island of Fernando Norhona. 
Later examples are too numerous to cite. 

2 The discovery seems to have been mainly due to the late Mr. C. Coxen of 


are used by the birds as a playing-house or ' run,' as it is termed, 
and are used by the males to attract the females. The ' run ' of the 
Satin-bird is much smaller, being less than one foot in length, and 
moreover differs from that just described in being decorated with 
the highly-coloured feathers of the Parrot-tribe ; the Chlamydera, on 
the other hand, collects around its ' run ' a quantity of stones, shells, 
bleached bones, etc. ; they are also strewed down the centre within." 

This statement, marvellous as it seemed, has been proved by 
many subsequent observers to be strictly true, and it must be 
borne in mind that these structures,^ each of which as above 
described he next year (1 Sept. 1841) figured {B. Austral, iv. 
pis. 8, 10), have nothing to do with nests of the birds — indeed, 
their mode of nidification, which was not made known until some 
years later, presents no extraordinary feature. Moreover, the birds 
will build their "bowers " in confinement, and therein disport them- 
selves, as has been repeatedly shewn in the Zoological Gardens ^ by 
the Satin-bird last mentioned, Phlorhynchus violaceiis. Subsequently 
it was found that the Eegent-bird, Sericulus melinus, a species long 
before known, had the habit of making a " bower " of similar kind, 
though built, so to speak, in another style of architecture, and having 
for its chief decoration the shells of a small species of Helix. 

The account of these curious birds which may be most 
conveniently consulted is that in G-ould's Handbook to the Birds of 
Australia (i. pp. 441-461), published in 1865 ; but since that time 
discoveries still more wonderful have been made. A bird of New 
Guinea, originally referred to the genus Ptilorhynchus, but now 
recognized as Aniblyornis inoniatus, has been found by Sign. Beccari 
to present not only a modification of bower-building, but an 
appreciation of beauty perhaps unparalleled in the animal world. 
His interesting observations (Annali del Mus. Civ. de Storia Nat. 
di Genova, ix. pp. 382-400, tav. viii.) shew that this species, which 
he not inaptly calls the " Gardener " (Gjardiniere), builds at the foot 
of a small tree a kind of hut or cabin (capanna) some two feet in 
height, roofed with orchid-stems that slope to the ground, regularly 

^ Gould brought home with him at least two examples, which he gave to the 
British Museum. There is no reason to suppose that this extraordinary liabit 
had been described before the date above given, or that the name "Bower-bird" 
had been previously used, and yet we find Trelawny in his Memoirs of Shelley, 
published in 1878, referring to himself (i. p. 136) as saying, in a conversation not 
later than 1822, "You two have built your nest after the fashion of the Aus- 
tralian bower-birds " ! 

" The ordinary visitor to these gardens seems to regard the structures of the 
Bower-birds without any intelligent interest. He perhaps supposes that thej'- are 
the handiwork of one or other of the keepers. From my own long connexion 
with the Zoological Society, I think I am able to state that neither in this nor any- 
_ thing else of the kind is any deception practised. The Bower-birds are supplied 
with materials, and that is all. 



radiating from the central support, whicli is covered with a conical 
mass of moss, and sheltering a gallery round it. One side of this 
hut is left open, and in front of it is arranged a bed of verdant 
moss, bedecked with blossoms and berries of the brightest colours. 
As these ornaments wither they are removed to a heap behind 
the hut, and replaced by others that are fresh. The hut is 
circular, and some three feet in diameter, and the moss)^ lawn in 

.... W^ 

"Garden" of Ambltoenis. 
(After Beocari. From The Gardeners' Chronicle, N.S., vol. ix. p. 333.) 

front of it of nearly twice that expanse. Each hut and garden are, 
it is believed, though not known, the work of a single pair of 
birds, or perhajjs of the male only ; and it may be observed tliat 
this .species, as its trivial name implies, is wholly inornate in 
pUmiage.^ Not less remarkable is the more recently described 
^ Another species referred to the same genus, A. snhaJaris, the female of 
which was originally described by Mr. Sharjie {Journ. Linn. Soc. xvii. p. 40) 
as being still more dingy, turned out to have the male embellished with a 
wonderful crest of reddish-orange (Fiusch and Meyer, Zcitschr. f. gcs. Orn. 1S85, 
p. 390, tab. xxii.). 


" bower " of Prionodura, a genus of which the male, like the Regent- 
bird, is conspicuous for his bright orange coloration. This 
structure is said by Mr. Devis (Trans. Roy. Soc. Qiieensland, 14 June 
1889) to be piled up almost horizontally round the base of a tree 
to the height of from 4 to 6 feet, and around it are a number of 
hut-like fabrics, having the look of a dwarfed native camp. Allied 
to the forms already named are two others, ScenojJGeus and 
Ailiuwdus, which, though not apparently building "bowers," yet 
clear a space of ground some 8 or 9 feet in diameter, on which to 
display themselves, ornamenting it " with tufts and little heaps of 
gaily tinted leaves and young shoots" (Ramsay, Proc. Zool. Soc. 
1875, p. 592). The former of them, Avhich, according to Mr. Lum- 
holtz (Among Cannibals, pp. 139, 140), covers a space of about a 
square yard mth large fresh leaves neatly laid, and removes 
them as they decay, inhabits Queensland, and to the latter belongs 
the " Cat-bird," so well known to Australians from its loud, harsh, 
and extraordinary cries. 

By most systematists these birds are placed among the Para- 
diseidx (Bird-of-Paradise) ; but in 
the British Museum Catalogue of 
Birds (vi. pp. 380-396) they are 
to be found in the "limbo large 
and broad" of Timeliidse — though 
allowed the rank of a subfamily 
" Ptilonorhynchinse," the name being 
taken from the feathei'ed and not 
the bare (as might from its ety- Ptilorhynchus violaceus. 

1 1 1 , i\ T (After Swainson.) 

mology have been expected) condi- 
tion of the base of the bill shewn in the figure of that part in the 

BRACHIAL ARTERY, see Vascular System : BRACHIAL 
PLEXUS, see Nervous System. 

BRAIN, the part of the Central Nervous System which is 
enclosed by the cranium, and in Birds consists of three principal 
divisions, named after their position — Hind- Mid- and Forebrain. 
The hindbrain is composed of the medulla oblongata, the direct and 
comparatively little modified continuation of the spinal cord, and of 
the cerebellum, these two parts being connected with each other 
by the pedunculi or crura cerebelli. The midbrain contains the 
peduncles of the great or forebrain, and the cortex or rind of the 
optic lobes. The forebrain is subdivided into the thalamencephalon 
and into the cerebral hemispheres. The ventral parts of the 
thalamencephalon form the hypophysis and the chiasma or 
crossing of the optic nerves, the lateral parts contain the inner 
portions of the optic lobes, which are partly homologous with 




the corpora bigemina of Mammals, and the optic thalami ; the 
dorsal roof forms the epiphysis or pineal gland, the corpus callosum 
and the anterior commissure, both of which consist of bundles of 
Avhite nerve fibres and connect the right with the left hemisphere. 
The ventral portion of the hemispheres consists of the corpora 
striata, which are masses of grey brain-substance, and of the olfactory 
lobes, which mark the anterior end of the brain. 

The central canal, which runs through the spinal cord, is con- 
tinued into the brain, and forms the fourth ventricle in the hind- 
brain, extending dorsally into the cerebellum ; and is then continued 
as " aquseductus Sylvii " through the midbrain, with lateral exten- 
sions into the optic lobes. The dilatation of this canal in the 
thalamencephalon is the third ventricle : it extends ventrally 
towards the hypophysis as the infundibulum, in a similar way 

Vertical section in the 
middle line through 


Enlarged. (After H. 

F. Osborne.) 
J, Right olfactory nerve ; 
II, Right optic nerve and 
chiasma ; aam.. Anterior 
commissure ; cal. Corpus 
callosum ; cere6, Cerebel- 
lum ; It, Lamina termin- 
alis ; fm. Foramen Mon- 
ro! ; 7icm, Right hemi- 
sphere; 7i.p7i, Hypophysis ; 
inf, Infundibulum ; pc?ft, 
Posterior commissure ; 
•pn, Epiphysis or pineal 

dorsally towards the epiphysis, and communicates through the 
foramen of Monro with the second and first ventricles ; these being 
the cavities of the two hemispheres. 

The hypophysis cerebri or pituitary body is lodged in the 
" sella turcica," a niche or recess formed by the antei'ior and 
posterior basisphenoid bones. This peculiar body is probably the 
degenerated remnant of a special sense-organ in the mouth of early 
Vertebrata, it being developed partly as an outgrowth from the 
roof of the mouth which fuses with a corresponding growth from 
the brain and then loses its connexion with the mouth. 

The epiphysis cerebri or pineal body is the remnant of a 
sense-organ, possibly visual, as it is still functional in many Lizards 
possessing a lens, a retina-like accumulation of black pigment and 
a nerve, but quite degenerated in all Birds and Mammals. 

The cerebellum of Birds is homologous only with the "worm" 
or middle portion of the ccrel)cllum of Mammals, the lateral lobes 
being absent, although a ])air of fiocculi are present. Externally 
it exhibits a number of transverse furrows, which divide it into 



lamellae. On a vertically longitudinal, or "sagittal," section, it has 
a beautiful tree -like appearance. From the walls of the central 
caAnty branch -like 
Avhite medullary 
iibres spread out, 
surrounded by a 
layer of reddish 
ganglionic cells, fol- 
lowed by larger 
ganglia (Purkinje's 
layer), and exter- 
nally covered by a 
grey mantle of 
smaller ganglionic 
cells. Such a thin 
section, especially 
when stained Avith 
carmine, forms a 
fascinating object 
for the microscope, 
and is easily made. 
The surface of 
the cerebral hemi- 
spheres in Birds 
exhibits no convol- 
utions or gyrations 
as in the higher 
]\Iammals. In the 
Ratitae and in many 
Passeres the surface 
is entirely smooth, 
but in Swimmers, 

AVaders Pigeons Ventral view of the brain of a Goose. Twice natural size. 
-r^ T ' , ^. ' (After A. Meckel.) 

-cowls, and Birds- ^ ^^^ ^, , , . „ ., ,„ ^,. 

' . I-XII, tlie twelve pairs of cranial nerves ; Ch. Chiasma of the 

OI-J: rey, there is a optic nerves cut across ; Fl. Flocculus ; H. Hypophysis ; L.o. 
very slio"ht furrow Opticlobe; Lq. Laqueus; F.S. Sylvian fissure; Si).I. First spinal 

which might be 

compared with the Sylvian fissure. There is also very little grey 
substance in the surface layers of the hemispheres. Various attemjDts 
have been made, by Tiedemann,^ Serres,^ Leuret,^ and Bumm,'* to 
compare the weight of the whole brain with that of the body, or 

1 Anatoonie und NaturgeschicUe der V'ogel. Heidelberg: 1810, 
^ Anatomie compar6e du cervemi. Paris : 1824. 
^ Anatomie comjmree du systeme nerveux. Paris : 1839-57. 
■* Das Grosshirn der Vogel. Zcitschr. fur wissensch. Zool. xxxviii. (1883) 
pp. 430-466, tabb. xxiv. -xxv. 


the weight of the hemispheres with that of other parts of the cen- 
tral nervous system, in order to draw conclusions as to the intelli- 
gence of various Birds. When Birds are arranged according to the 
preponderance of the hemispheres over the rest of the brain, the first 
place is taken by the Passeres and Parrots (2"7 or 2'0 to 1), then 
follow Geese, Ducks, Waders, and Birds -of -Prey, lastly Fowls and 
Pigeons, the proportions in the Common Domestic Pigeon being 
0"95 to 1, i.e. the forebrain weighs less than the rest, Avhile in many 
Oscines it weighs nearly three times as much. The attempts to 
sort Birds according to the proportion of brain to body have led 
to no practical results, chiefly because the variable conditions of fat 
and lean subjects have not been considered. The absolute weight 
or mass alone of the brain is not a safe guide. 

There are twelve 'pairs, of cranial or brain-nerves which arise from 
the brain and leave the cranium through special holes. These 
pairs, as in other Classes of Vertebrates, are frequently spoken 
of by their number, counting from the nasal region backwards 
to the occiput. 

I. N. olfadoritis forms the anterior and ventral continuation 
of the hemisphere of its side, but arises in reality from ganglionic 
cells in the thalamencephalon and the midbrain. It leaves the 
cranial cavity through a canal in the dorsal and median part of the 
orbit and ends in the ganglionic cells of the olfactory membrane of 
the nose. 

II. N. opticus arises from the ganghonic cells of the mantle 
of the optic lobes. Immediately in front of the hypophysis is the 
optic chiasma, produced by the complete crossing of the fibres 
which compose the two optic nerves, those from the right optic 
lobe passing over the left, and those from the left lobe to the right 
side. From the chiasma start the right and left optic nerves, each 
leaving the cranium by the large optic foramen between the orbito- 
sphenoid and alisphenoid, entering the orbit near the posterior and 
ventral corner of the orbital septum and ultimately forming the 
retina of the eye. 

III. N. oculomotorius arises close behind the hypophysis, near 
the medio-ventral line, from the midbrain, enters the orbit behind 
or together with the optic nerve (II), and supplies most of the ex- 
ternal muscles of the eye, namely the m. rectus superior, inferior, 
internus, and obliquus inferior. A ciliary, partly sympathetic, 
branch supplies the eyeball and the internal muscles (see Eye). 

IV. N. trochlearis or ixdheticus is the only one which leaves the 
brain on its dorsal surface, namely as a thin thrend winding its way 
from the midl^rain upwards between the cerebellum and the optic 
lobes, and entering the orbit through a fine opening close to the 
optic nerve (II) in order to supply the m. obliquus superior of the 


V. N. trige^ninus is next to the optic the thickest nerve, and of 
a complex nature, being motory and sensory. It arises from the 
sides of the mid- and hindbrain, forms the large Gasserian ganglion 
in the Avail of the cranium, and leaves the latter in the form of three 
branches. The first or ophthalmic branch comes directly out of the 
ganglion through a foramen behind the optic (II), runs along the 
dorsal corner of the orbital septum, and leaves the orbit at its 
inner anterior corner in order to supply the palate, the bill, fore- 
head, and the lacrymal gland. It is chiefly sensory, and con- 
sequently strongest in birds with tactile bills, like Ducks and 
Snipes. The second or upper maxillary branch runs along the 
A^entral edge of the orbital septum, and besides the palatine and 
maxillary regions supplies the eyelids and Harder's gland. The 
third or inferior maxillary branch is the strongest of the three ; it 
leaves the cranium together with the second through a foramen 
between the basi-alisphenoid and petrosal bones and innervates all 
the masticatory muscles, the parotid gland, and the whole of the 
under jaw. 

VI. N. ahclucens is a very thin nerve arising from the hindbrain 
near the medio-ventral line, entering the orbit through a special 
foramen latero-ventrally from the optic foramen, and supplying the 
m. rectus externus and the two muscles of the nictitating membrane. 
It is entii'ely motory. 

VII. N. facialis arises from the side of the hindbrain, possesses 
a ganglion (g. geniculatum), passes through the petrosal bone into 
the Fallopian canal, and sends the sympathetic sphenopalatine branch 
to the second branch of the trigeminal nerve (V). The facial nerve 
leaves the tympanic cavity behind the quadrate bone, supplies the 
digastric muscle or depressor of the mandible, the little stapedius 
muscle of the ear-bones, the mylo- and stylohyoid muscles of the 
tongue, and further on connects itself with branches from the first 
four cervical nerves and occasionally with branches from the glosso- 
pharyngeal nerve (IX), ultimately supplying the skin on the front of 
the neck. There are no branches, as in Mammals, to supply the 
face, nor is there in Birds a chorda tympani, i.e. a branch of the 
facial nerve joining the mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve (V). 

VIII. N. amsticus arises dorsally from the facial nerve (VII), 
of which it is the sensory portion. It is very short and thick, 
possesses a little ganglion, and spreads out in the cochlea of the Ear 
as the nerve of hearing. 

IX. N. glossopharyngeus takes its origin from the dorso-lateral 
sides of the medulla oblongata, near the rhomboid fossa. It leaves 
the cranium through the foramen jugulare, which lies between the 
petrosal and the lateral occipital bones, and also serves as exit for 
the vagus nerve (X) and the jugular vein. Here the ninth nerve 
forms a big swelling, the ganglion jugulare, and is connected with the 


ganglion of the vagus and with the large sympathetic g. cervicale 
supremum, receiving a strong branch from the stem of the vagus, 
and dividing into two branches : — One, the pharyngeal branch, sup- 
plying the upper portion of the pharynx and the gustatory papillae 
of the palate ; the other, or lingual branch, supplying the glottis, 
larynx, and the tongue, and acting chiefly as the nerve of taste. 

X. N. vagus or imeumogastricm arises behind the glossopha- 
ryngeal (IX), and passes likewise through the jugular foramen. Its 
ganglion is connected with that of the glossopharyngeal and with 
that of the sympathetic system. The stem of this nerve receives a 
branch from the hypoglossal (XII) and takes up the accessory (XI). 
It runs down the side of the oesophagus, enters the thoracic cavity 
between the brachial nerve plexus and the carotid artery, then 
passes between the bronchus and the subclavian artery to the 
ventral side of the proventriculus, and joining its fellow from the 
other side, spreads out to supply the stomach. Other branches 
leave the principal stem of each vagus at the level of the bronchi 
to supply the liver, heart, and lungs, and as the recurrent laryngeal 
branch also supply the distal portion of the trachea and oesophagus. 
Some fibres of the vagus often extend beyond the stomach, and are 
connected with the sympathetic nerves of the trunk, supplying part 
of the intestinal canal. 

XI. N. accessorius; a little nerve taking its origin between 
the dorsal and ventral roots of the third cervical nerve, runs 
upwards through the occipital foramen into the cranium, and joins 
the ganglion of the vagus (X), to leave the cranium with the latter 
and to supply the cucullaris muscle or constrictor colli. 

XII. N. hypoglossiis arises ventro- laterally from the medulla 
oblongata, and leaves the cranium by two foramina in the lateral 
occipital bone, in front of and sidewards from the occipital condyle. 
It supplies the m. complexus, forms a connecting loop with the first 
cervical nerve, innervates some of the cervical muscles, and divides 
into two branches — one of which supplies most of the muscles of the 
tongue and communicates with its fellow on the undersurface of 
the tongue, while the other innervates the muscles of the larynx, 
and then descends along the side of the trachea to the syrinx in 
order to supply the vocal muscles and membranes. 

BRAMBLE-FINCH or BRAMBLING (Germ. BramUng), names 
of one of the most beautiful of our annual visitors, Fringilla monti- 
fringilla, which has its home in the birch-forests of Northern 
Europe and Asia, whence it yearly proceeds, often in flocks of 
thousands, to pass the winter in more southern countries. It is 
congeneric with the Chaffinch, but is still more brightly coloured, 
especially in summer, when the brown edges of the feathers being 
shed, it presents a rich combination of black, Avhite, and orange. 


Even ill winter, however, its diversified plumage is sufficiently 

BRANT or BRENT, Avords of doubtful etymology: the 
former spelling is most usually adopted by American, the latter 
by English authors, and in Britain the word GooSE is generally 

BREASTBONE, see Sternum. 

BRISTLE-BIRD, the name given by the colonists to three 
species of the genus Sphenura of Lichtenstein (as now restricted) 
which inhabit Australia, from the two or three pairs of strong 
recurved bristles which project laterally from the gape. They 
were formerly considered to belong to the Sylviidx ; but latterly, 
like many others, have been referred (chiefly on account of their 
short wings) to the Timeliiclse by Mr. Sharpe (Cat. B. Br. Mus. 
\\\. p. 104). Their true position seems yet to be determined. 
They mostly conceal themselves in thickets, especially in marshy 
places, flying very little, but running very cj^uickly, and carrying 
the tail erect. The nest is built of dry grass, globular in form, 
and is of large size. S. hrmhyptera, the tyjDe of the genus, inhabits 
New South Wales, and the two others, S. longirostris and S. 
broadhenti, are found in Western Australia and the interior of 
South Australia respectively. Allied to Sj^henura is Amytis, with 
3 or 4 species, also Australian, someAvhat Wren-like in form, and 
having the gape beset with five pairs of bristles, which, however, 
are directed more forwardly, and are weaker. 

BROADBILL, Swainson's name, appropriate as will be seen by 
the figure, in 1837 (Classif. B. ii. p. SO), for a remarkable group of 
birds comprehending 
the genus Eunjlxiims 
of Horsfield {Trans. 
Linn. Soc. xiii, p. 170) 
and some allied forms, 
all inhabiting the 
Indian Region, and 
especially developed 
in Malacca, Java, Su- 
matra, and Borneo ; 
but found also in the 
elevated part of India, eueyl.i:mus. Calyptomena. 

^ , T , .1 (After Swainson.) 

and extendmg to the 

Philippines. The position of this group, which was in 1842 
recognized by Baron de Selys-Longchamps as forming a good 
Family, Eunjlmmidm, had long been doubtful, some authors regard- 
ing it as allied to the Muscicapidx (Ely-catcher), others to the 
Coraciidse (Roller), and so forth. By degrees what seems to 


be its true place as belonging to the Oligomyodi, as that term is 
used in this work ; but the Eurylsemidx, so far as they have been 
examined, differ from all other Passeres in " their retention of a 
plantar vinculum," as first noticed by Garrod {Proc. Zool. Soc. 
1877, p. 449), which fact led W. A. Forbes to propose for them 
further separation as Desmodactyli {ojj. cit. 1880, p. 390). But 
what seems to be a stronger reason for separating them is that, as 
Mr. Sclater had already shewn (Ibis, 1872, p. 179), the manubrium, 
or anterior projection of the sternum, is not forked as in other 
Passeres. According to him in 1888 {Cat. B. Br. If us. xiv. pp. 
454-470) the Eurylsemida} comprehend two subfamilies, Calypto- 
meninx, consisting of the genus Calyptomena only, and Eurtjlxminas, 
containing six genera, two of which, Psarisomus and Serilophus,'^ are 
found in India, while examples of all the rest, the Philippine Sarco- 
phanops excepted, occur in British territory further to the eastward. 
They are nearly all birds of great beauty, and the two species of 
Cahjptomena are remarkable for their rich green plumage, and the 
way in which the frontal feathers project upwards and forwards, so 
as almost to conceal the bill, and being adpressed form a disk-like 
prominence. They are frugivorous, but the Eunjlseminm seem to 
be insectivorous. Not much is recorded of their habits, but they 
are said to be stupid, songless birds, and usually keep in small 
flocks. {Cf. Gates, B. Br. Burmah, i. pp. 422-431.) 

BRONCHI, adj. bronchial, from (3p6yxos, the windpipe. The 
thoracic end of the Trachea is divided into a right and a left 
bronchus. Each bronchus enters the lung of its side and passes 
through its whole length as mesobronchium, from which go off about 
10 secondary bronchi towards the surface of the LuNG. In almost 
all birds — the exceptions being the Cathartid^e, true Storks, and 
Steatornis — the bronchi are strengthened by cartilaginous semii'ings ; 
the ends of these rings point towards the median line, and are 
closed by the inner tympaniform membrane. The right and left 
membranes are connected with each other by an elastic band, called 
bronchidesmus. All the rings which partake of the formation of 
the pessulus of the trachea belong to the latter, the pessulus thus 
marking the beginning of the bronchi (see also Trachea and Syrinx). 

BRONZE- WING, the name given in Australia to several 
species of Pigeon belonging to the genera or so-called genera 
Phaps, Geopjliaps, LopJiophaps, and Ocifphaps, from the lustrous coppery 
or bronze-like spots they display on their wings. 

BRUBRU, the name (apparently originating with Levaillant) 
of a conspicuously-coloured Shrike, the Nilaus hrubru or N. capensis 
of modern ornithology. 

^ The style of plumage in this genus recalls that of Ampelis (Waxwing), 
but no alliiiity thereto can be thought to exist. 



BRUSH-TUEKEY, the Australian name for one of the largest 
of the Megapodes, Talegallus lathami, 
which has frequently made its mound, 
laid its eggs, and reared its young in 
the Zoological Gardens, after the manner 
described many years ago by Mr. Bart- 
lett (Pwc. Zool. SoG. 1860, pp. 426, 427). 
In earlier dsijs the position of this bird 
was a great puzzle to some ornitholo- 
gists, who thou2;ht from the form of 

Talegallus. (After Swainson.) 

its bill that it was a Bird-of-Prey, and called it the " New-Holland 

BUDJERIGAE, (spelling doubtful) a corruption of Betckerrygah, 
given by Gould as the native name of the pretty little Australian 
Parrakeet, Melopsittaciis undidatus, that is now so favourite a 
cage-bird. Its name has of late been still further corrupted into 
Beauregard ! 

BUFFLE-HEAD (i.e. Buffalo-head) a North- American species 
of Duck, Clangula albeola, allied to the Golden-eye. 

BULBUL, from the Arabic through the Persian, in the poetry 
of which language it plays a great part, and is generally rendered 
"Nightingale" by translators, and rightly so according to Blyth 
(Calcutta Review, No. Iv. March 1857, p. 153), who says that it "is 
a species of true Nightingale." In this case it is probably that 
named Daulias hafizi, in honour of the great Persian j)oet.^ But 
whatever may have been originally intended, and Yule says 


(After Swainson.) 


(Hohson-Jobson) that the name is derived from the bird's note, 
the word has for a good many years been applied by Anglo- 
Indians to various species, all or nearly all of which belong to a 
group Ixidx (otherwise Brachyj^odidm, so-called from their short legs), 
and usually referred to the ill-defined "Family" Timeliida}. Of 
this group the latest authority, Mr. Gates {Faun. Br. India, Birds, 

■^ Cf. Blanford, Zool. and Geol. Persia, p. 169, pi. x. fig. 2 ; and Dresser, 
Ibis, 1875, p. 338. 


i. pp. 253, 254), makes sixteen genera, one of them, Molpastes, being 
that which he considers to contain what may be called the genuine 
Bulbuls, formerly included in the genus Pycnonotus, but since 
separated therefrom, on characters, however, which seem to be of 
the slightest. No fewer than nine species are now recognized as 
inhabiting various parts of the Indian Empire and Ceylon, that 
found in Bengal and to the northward, M. pygseus or bengalensis, 
being perhaps the best known, but Madras, the Punjab, Burma, and 
Tenasserim have each its own form or species. They are said to 
be familiar garden-birds, and are usually common, going about in 
pairs with a melodious chirping. 

BULLFINCH, doubtless so called from the thickness of its 
head and neck, when compared with other members of the Family 
Fringillidm (Finch), to which it belongs — the familiar bird, Pyrrkula 
europsea, -which hardly needs description. The varied plumage of 
the cock — his bright red breast and his grey back, set off by his coal- 
black head and quills — is naturally attractive ; while the facility 
with which he is tamed, and his engaging disposition in con- 
finement, make him a popular cage-bird, — to say nothing of the 
fact (which in the opinion of so many adds to his charms) of his 
readily learning to " pipe " a tune, or some bars of one, though this 
perversion of his natural notes is hardly agreeable to the orni- 
thologist. By gardeners the Bullfinch has long been regarded as a 
deadly enemy, from its undoubted destruction of the buds of 
fruit-trees in spring-time, though whether the destruction is really 
so much of a detriment is by no means undoubted. Northern and 
Eastern Europe is inhabited by a larger form, P. major, which 
differs in nothing but size and more vivid tints from that which' is 
common in the British Isles and Western Europe. A very distinct 
species, P. muriiia, remarkable for its dull coloration, is peculiar to 
the Azores, and several others are found in Asia from the 
Himalayas to Japan. More recently a Bullfinch, P. cassini, has been 
discovered in Alaska, being the first recognition of this genus in 
the New World. (Cf. Stejneger, Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 1887, pp. 

BULLHEAD and BULLSEYE, names applied chiefly in 
Ireland and North America to the Golden and Grey Plovers ; but 
the former also given locally to the Golden-eye. 

BUNTING, Old English " Buntyle," Scottish " Buntlin," a word 
of uncertain origin,^ properly the common English name of the bird 

^ Prof. Skeat {Etymol. Diet.) has suggested a connexion M-ith the ohi verb, 
still extant as a dialectic form, huntcn = to butt ; but this is not very apparent. 
He has also cited the Scottish word buniin = short and thick, or plump, wliich, 
however, seems as likely to have been derived from the bird, for the clumsy 


called by Linni'eus Emherka miliaria, but now used in a general sense 
for all members of the Family Emherizidx, which are closely allied 
to the Fringillidse (Finch). The Buntings generally may be out- 
wardly distinguished from the Finches by their angular gape, 
the posterior portion of which is greatly deflected ; and most of 
the Old-AVorld forms, together with some of those of the New 
World, have a bony knob on the palate — a swollen out growth of 
the dentary edges of the bill. Correlated with this peculiarity 
the maxilla usually has the tomia sinuated, and is generally 
concave, and smaller and narrower than the mandible, which is 
also concave to receive the palatal knob. In most other respects 
the Buntings greatly resemble the Finches, but their eggs are 
generally distinguishable by the irregular hair-like markings on the 
shell. In the British Islands by far the commonest species of 
Bunting is the Yellow Hammer, E. citrinella, but the true Bunting 
(or Corn- Bunting, or Bunting-Lark, as it is called in some districts) 
is a very well known bird, while the Reed-Bunting, E. schceniclus, 
frequents marshy soils almost to the exclusion of the two former. 
In certain localities in the south of England the Cirl-Bunting, E. 
drills, is also a resident ; and in winter vast flocks of the Snow- 
Bunting, PledropJianes nivalis, at once recognizable by its pointed 
wings and elongated hind- claws, resort to our shores and open 
grounds. This last breeds sparingly on the highest mountains of 
Scotland, the fact being placed beyond doubt by the discovery of a 
nest and young in 1886 by Messrs. B. N. Peach and L. N. 
Hinxman, as briefly recorded soon after by Mr. Harvie-Brown 
{Zoologist, 1886, p. 336), and with full details in the Vertebrate 
Faurwb of Sutherland by that gentleman and Mr. Buckley (pp. 
138-143, pi.); but the flocks which visit us come from northern 
regions, for it is a species which in summer inhabits the whole 
circumpolar area. The Ortolan, E. hortulana, so highly prized for 
its delicate flavour, occasionally appears in England, but this island 
lies outside its proper range. On the continent of Europe, in 
Africa, and throughout Asia, many other species are found, while 
in America the number belonging to the Family cannot at present 
be computed. As already stated, the beautiful and melodious 
Cardinal, Cardinalis virginianus, often called the Virginian 
Nightingale, probably has to be included in this Family, but doubts 
exist as to the Bobolink, though it is commonly known as the Rice- 
Bunting. Whether any species of Emherizidse inhabit the Austra- 
lian Region is yet to be proved ; but it would seem possible that 
several genera of Australian birds hitherto classed with the Frin- 
gillidai may have to be assigned to the Emherizidse. 

figure of tlie true Bunting is very evident to any observer. Any connexion with 
the German lunt or the Dutch honte ( = pied or variegated) is said to be most 


BURROW-DUCK, a common local name of the Sheld-drake. 

BUSTARD (corrupted from the Latin Ams tarda, though the 
application of the epithet ^ is not easily understood), the largest 
British land-fowl, and the Otis tarda of Linnseus, which formerly 
frequented the champaign parts of Great Britain from East 
Lothian to Dorset, but of which the native race is now extirpated. 
Its existence in the northern locality just named rests upon 
Sihbald's authority {circa 1684), and though Hector Boethius 
(1526) unmistakably described it as an inhabitant of the Merse, no 
later Avriter than the former has adduced any evidence in favour of 
its Scottish domicile. The last examples of the native race were 
probably two killed in 1838 near Swaffham, in Norfolk, a district 
in which for some years previously a few hen-birds of the species, 
the remnant of a plentiful stock, had maintained their existence, 
though .no cock-bird had latterly been known to bear them 
company. In Suffolk, where the neighbourhood of Icklingham 
formed its chief haunt, an end came to the race in 1832 ; on the 
wolds of Yorkshire about 1826, or perhaps a little later; and on 
those of Lincolnshire about the same time. Of Wiltshire, Montagu, 
writing in 1813, says that none had been seen in their favourite 
haunts on Salisbury Plain for the last two or three years. In 
Dorset there is no evidence of an indigenous example having 
occurred since that date, nor in Hampshire nor Sussex within the 
present century. From other English counties, as Cambridgeshire, 
Hertfordshire, and Berkshire, it disappeared without note being 
taken of the event, and the direct cause or causes of its extermina- 
tion can only be inferred from what, on testimony cited by Mr. 
Stevenson {Birds of Norfolk, ii. pp. 1-42), is known to have led 
to the same result in Norfolk and Suffolk. In the latter the 
extension of plantations rendered the country unfitted for a bird 
whose shy nature could not brook the growth of covert that might 
shelter a foe, and in the former the introduction of improved 
agricultural implements, notably the corn-drill and the horse-hoe, 
led to the discovery and generally the destruction of every nest, 
for the bird's chosen breeding-place was in wide fields — " brecks," 
as they are locally called, — of winter-corn. Since the extirpation 
of the native race the Bustard is knoAvn to Great Britain onlj^ by 
occasional wanderers, straying most likely from the open country 
of Champagne or Saxony, and occurring in one part or another 
of the United Kingdom some two or three times every three or 
four years, and chiefly in midwinter. 

An adult male will measure nearly four feet from the tip of 
the bill to the end of the tail, and its Avings have an expanse of 

■* It may bo open to doubt whetbor tardais, here au adjective. Several of the 
mediieval naturalists used it as a substantive. 



eight feet or more — its weight varying (possibly through age) 
from 22 to 32 pounds. This last Avas that of one which occurred 

Cock Bustard. (After Wolf.) 

to the younger Naumann, the best biographer of the bird [Vogel 
Deidschlands, vii. pp. 12-51), who, however, stated in 1834 that 

Cock Bustard. (After Wolf.) 

he Avas assured of the former existence of examples which 
had weighed from 35 to 38 pounds. The female is considerably 
smaller. Compared Avith most other birds frequenting open places 


the Bustard has disproportionately short legs, yet the bulk of its 
body renders it a conspicuous and stately object, and when on 
the wing, to which it readily takes, its flight is not inferior in 
majesty to that of an Eagle. The bill is of moderate length, 
but, owing to the exceedingly flat head of the bird, appears 
longer than it really is. The neck, especially of the male in the 
breeding-season, is thick, as shewn in the first figure, and the tail, 
in the same sex at that time of year, is generally carried in an 
upright position, being, however, in the paroxysms of courtship 
turned forwards, Avhile the head and neck are simultaneously 
retracted along the back, the wings are lowered, and their shorter 
feathers erected. In this posture, which has been admirably por- 
trayed by Mr. Wolf (Zool. Sketches, pi. 45), the bird presents, as 
will be seen by the second figure, a very strange appearance, 
for the tail, head, and neck are almost buried amid the upstand- 
ing feathers before named, and the breasts are protruded to a 
remarkable extent. The Bustard is of a pale grey on the neck 
and white beneath, but the back is beautifully barred with russet 
and black, while in the male, at the height of the breeding-season, 
a band of deep tawny-brown — in some examples approaching a 
claret-colour — descends from either shoulder and forms a broad 
gorget on the breast. The secondaries and greater wing-coverts 
are white, contrasting vividly, as the bird flies, with the black 
primaries. Both sexes have the ear-coverts somewhat elongated 
— whence doubtless is derived the name Otis (Gr. wrts) — and the 
male is adorned with a tuft of long, white, bristly plumes, 
springing from each side of the base of the mandible. The 
food of the Bustard consists of almost any of the plants natural 
to the open country it loves, but in winter it "will readily forage 
on those which are grown by man, and especially coleseed and 
similar green crops. To this vegetable diet much animal matter 
is added when occasion ofl"ers, and from an earthworm to a 
field-mouse little that lives and moves seems to come amiss to 
its appetite. 

Though not many birds have had more written about them 
than the Bustard, much remains to be determined with regard to 
its economy. A moot point, which will most likely always remain 
undecided, is whether the British race was migratory or not, 
though that such is the habit of the species in most parts of the 
European continent is beyond dispute. Equally uncertain as yet 
is the question whether it is polygamous or not — the evidence 
being perhaps in favour of its having that nature. But one of 
the most singular properties of the bird is the presence in some 
of the fully-grown males of a pouch or gular sack, opening under 
the tongue. This extraordinary feature, first discovered by 
James Douglas, a Scotch physician, and made known by Albin 


in 1740, though its existence was hinted by Sir Thomas Browne 
sixty years before, if not by the Emperor Frederick II, has been 
found wanting in examples that, from the exhibition of all the 
outward marks of virility, were believed to be thoroughly 
mature ; and as to its function and mode of development judgment 
had best be suspended, with the understanding that the old supposi- 
tion of its serving as a receptacle whence the bird might supply itself 
or its companions with water in dry places must be deemed to be 
wholly untenable. The structure of this pouch — the existence 
of which in some examples has been well established — is, how- 
ever, variable ; and though there is reason to believe that in one 
form or another it is common in the breeding-season to several 
species of the Family Otididai, it would seem to be as inconstant 
in its occurrence as in its capacity. As might be expected, this 
remarkable feature has attracted a good deal of attention {Journ. 
fur Omith. 1861, p. 153; 1862, p. 135; Ibis, 1862, p. 107; 1865, 
p. 143 ; Proc. Zool. Soc. 1865, p. 747 ; 1868, p. 471 ; 1869, p. 140 ; 
1874, p. 471), and the researches of Garrod, the latest investi- 
gator of the matter, shew that in an example of the Australian 
Bustard, Otis australis, examined by him there was, instead of a 
pouch or sack, simply a highly dilated oesophagus — the distention 
of which, at the bird's will, produced much the same appearance 
and effect as that of the undoubted sack found at times in the 
0. tarda. 

The distribution of the Bustards is confined to the Old World 
— the bird so-called in the Fur-Countries of North America, and 
thus giving its name to a lake, river, and cape, being the Canada 
Goose, Bernida canadensis. In the Palsearctic area we have 
the 0. tarda already mentioned, extending from Spain to Mesopo- 
tamia at least, and from Scania to Morocco, as well as a smaller 
species, 0. tetrax, which often occurs as a straggler in, but was 
never an inhabitant of, the British Islands. Two species, known 
indifferently by the name of Houbara (derived from the Arabic), 
frequent the more southern portions of the area. One of them, 0. 
houbara, inhabits Mauritania and even some of the Canary Islands, 
while the other, 0. macqueeni, though having the more eastern range 
and reaching India, has several times occurred in ISTorth-Avestern 
Europe, and once even in England. In the east of Siberia the j^lace 
of 0. tarda is taken by the nearly-allied, but apparently distinct, 
0. dybovskii, which would seem to occur also in Northern China. 
Africa is the chief stronghold of the Family, nearly a score of well- 
marked species being peculiar to that continent, all of which have 
been by later systematists separated from the genus Otis. India, 
too, has three peculiar species, the smaller of which are there 
known as Floricans, and, like some of their African and one if not 
both of their European cousins, are remarkable for the ornamental 



plumage they assume at the breeding-season. Neither in Mada- 
gascar nor in the Malay Archipelago is there any form of this 
Family, but Australia possesses one large species already named. 
From Xenophon's days (Anah. i. 5) to our own, the flesh of 
Bustards has been esteemed as of the highest flavour. The 
Bustard has long been protected by the game-laws in Great Britain, 
but, as will have been seen, to little purpose. A few attempts 
have been made to reinstate it as a denizen of this country, but 
none on any scale that would ensure success. Many of the older 
authors considered the Bustards allied to the Ostrich, a most 
mistaken view, their affinity pointing apparently towards the 
Cranes in one direction and the Plovers in another. The so- 
called Thick-kneed Bustard is the Stone-CURLEW. 

BUTCHER-BIRD, a name that seems at one time to have been 
in general use, though latterly usurped, except locally, by Shrike, 
which last was probably applied by mistake. The former takes its 
origin from the bird's habit of impaling its prey on a thorn while 
eating it, and leaving the remains there to decay. A place suitable 
for this purpose is often used many times, and, reminding people of 
a butcher's shambles, induced the English name, as well as the Latin 
Lanius, conferred, it would appear, by Gesner. The habit is carried 
out when the bird is kept in confinement, for it will then fix its food 
to the wires of its cage. One species, L. excuUtor, derives its trivial 
designation from the use made of it as a sentinel by falconers when 
catching wild Hawks. The mode employed is well described by 
Hoy {Mag. Nat. Hist. iv. p. 342), but can be only briefly mentioned 
here. The Hawk-catcher lies hidden in a hut, watching through a 
small hole the Butcher-bird, which is tethered some yards oft', and 
by its actions not only gives him notice of the approach of a Bird- 
of-Prey, but also indicates of what kind the stranger is. Thus the 
sentinel is but slightly troubled at a passing Kite, Eagle, or 
Buzzard ; but beats itself on its perch with screams at the sight 
of a Harrier, while on the appearance of a Falcon or Sparrow-Hawk 
it drops with cries of distress into a retreat that has been consider- 
ately prepared for it. On this the falconer, by pulling long strings, 
displays first one and then a second tethered Pigeon, and the 
instant the Hawk clutches this last, draws a bow-net over both, 
thus securing his prize. 

BUTTON -QUAIL, the Anglo-Indian name for a little bird, 
Turnix syJcesi, and one if not more of its congeners, which, though 
for a long while confounded with the true Quails, really belong to 
a very distinct group, Turnicidx, and may be more conveniently 
treated under the title of Hemipode. 

BUZZARD, a word derived from the Latin Butco, through the 
French Busard, and used in a general sense for a large group of 



Buzzard. (After Swainson.) 

Diurnal Birds-of-Pre}'^, which contains, among many others, the 
species usually kncwai as the Common Buzzard, Buteo vulgaris, of 
Leach, though the English epithet is nowadays hardly applicable. 
The name Buzzard, however, belongs quite as rightfully to the 
birds called in books "Harriers," and by it one of them, the 
Moor-Buzzard, Circus aeruginosas, 
is still known in such places as 
it inhabits. "Puttock" is also 
another name used in some parts 
of the country, but perhaps is 
rather a synonym of the Kite, 
Milvus idinus. Though ornitho- 
logical writers are almost unani- 
mous in distinguishing the Buz- 
zards as a group from the Eagles, 
the grounds usually assigned for 
their separation are but slight, and the diagnostic character that 
can be best trusted is probably that in the former, as the 
figure shews, the bill is decurved from the base, while in the 
latter it is for about a third of its length straight. The head, 
is short and round, while in the Eagles 
a general Avay Buzzards are smaller than 
are several exceptions to this statement, 
and have their plumage more mottled. Furthermore, most if 
not all of the Buzzards, about which anything of the kind is 
with certainty known, assume their adult dress at the first moult, 
while the Eagles take a longer time to reach maturity. The 
Buzzards are fine -looking birds, but are slow and heavy of 
flight, so that in the old days of falconry they were regarded 
with infinite scorn, and hence in common English to call a 
man a " buzzard " is to denounce him as stupid. Their food 
consists of small mammals, young birds, reptiles, amphibians, 
and insects — particularly beetles — and thus they never could have 
been very injurious to the game-preserver, though they have fallen 
under his ban, if indeed they were not really his friends ; but at 
the present day they are so scarce that in this country their effect, 
whatever it may be, is inappreciable. Buzzards are found over the 
whole world with the exception of the Australian Region, and have 
been split into many genera by systematists. In the British 
Islands we have two species, one (the B. vulgaris already mentioned) 
resident, and now almost confined to a few of the wilder districts ; 
the other the Rough-legged Buzzard, Archihuteo lagopus, an irregular 
Avinter-visitant, sometimes arriving in large bands from the north 
of Europe, and readily distinguishable from the former by being 
feathered down to the toes. The Honey-Buzzard, Fernis apivoriis, 
a summer-visitor from the south, and breeding, or attempting to 

too, in the Buzzards 
it is elongated. In 
Eagles, though there 


breed, yearly in the New Forest, does not come into the sub- 
family Buteoninx, but is probably the tj'pe of a distinct group, 
Ferninse,^ of which there are other examples in Africa and 
Asia. The so-called "Turkey-Buzzard" is one of the American 



C^CA, a pair of blindsacs or lateral dilatations of the gut, 
marking the beginning of the rectum. When the caeca are large the 
rectum is shut off from the ileum or small intestine by a valvular 
sphincter, which allows the fsecal matter to ascend from the rectum 
into the cseca, but prevents it from passing back into the ileum. 
The cseca vary extremely in size in the dilferent groups of Birds ; 
they attain their greatest size in those that are herbivorous, are 
small or hardly functional in most that live on animal food, and are 
altogether absent in fruit- and grain-eaters. There are, however, so 
many exceptions to this broad generalisation, that an enumeration 
is advisable, especially since a certain taxonomic value cannot be 
denied to these organs. 

It is highly probable that originally all Birds possessed cseca, 
and that, according to the diet, these were either further developed 
or reduced in size or even lost ultimately. Hence the mere 
presence of cseca in a bird is of less taxonomic value than their 
state of development ; they are either functional, or without func- 
tion ; their absence is only the last step of their degeneration. 

1. The caeca are large and of great functional importance in 
Struthio, Ehea, Apteryx, Crypturi, Gallince, Pteroclidae, Grallae, and 
Anseres, i.e. in birds which are chiefly herbivorous ; also in many 
worm-eating Limicolae, for instance in the Avoset, Lap'W'ing, Ringed 
Plover, (Edicnemus, Thinocorys, Attagis, and the Corncrake ; lastly in 
the Owls, Nightjars, Rollers, Bee-eaters, and Cuckoos, i.e. birds which, 
Avith the exception of the first group, are strictly insectivorous. 

2. The caeca are distinctly functional, but comparatively short, 
in Casuarius, Dromaeus, Grus, Turnix, many Anatidre (vegetable- 
eaters with a great predilection for animal food), Limicolas and 
Rallidae, like the Golden Plover, Numenius, Totanus, Gallinago, 
Chionis, Porphyrio, Porzana ; the piscivorous Spheniscid;v, Peli- 
canus, Podicipes, Uria, Colymbus ; Mcrops, and Phaniicopterus. 

3. The caeca are quite degenerated and functionlcss, being 
either {a) reduced to small wartlike or vermiform appendages, as 
in some Spheniscidae, Herodii, Pelargi, Steganopodes, Laridae, Strep- 

1 The name Pcj-n/s was given in 1817 by Cuvier {E^gnc Anim. i. p. 322), who 
said it was used by Aristotle ; but the hitter lias only irTipvi£ (Hist. Anim. ix. 36). 

CyECA 69 

silas, Limosa, Scolopax, Parra, Rhinochetus, many Columbae, Acci- 
pitres, and Passeres ; or (b) they are entirely absent, as in many 
Columbiie, Psittaci, Musopliaga, Corythaix, Pici, Alcedinidae, Bucero- 
tida^, UpupidiTe, Colius, Cypselidse, and Trochilidse. 

4. Sometimes one cfBoum remains in a rudimentary condition 
and the other one has disappeared ; this is the rule in almost all 
Herodii and in Procellaria, but occasionally met with in Steganopodes, 
Podicipes, Strepsilas, and in Atrichia. 

The greatest development of the caeca occurs in Struthio, Rhea, 
Tinamus, and Meleagris, their aggregate volume equalling or even 
surpassing that of the rest of the intestinal canal, the cseca in these 
cases, especially in Ratitae, shewing numerous transverse constric- 
tions and sacculations, which increase the absorbing surface. 

A certain correlation exists between the cseca and the length 
and width of the rectum. 

The examples enumerated above seem to shew that caeca are 
not required for the digestion of meat, fruit, and grain. Fish-eating 
Ducks have considerably shorter caeca than their strictly vegetarian 
relations ; the same remark applies to those Waders which live upon 
moUusks and other soft-bodied invertebrates. On the other hand, 
the well-developed caeca of Coracias, Caprimulgus, Merops, Cuculus, 
and those of the likewise insectivorous Todies and Bee-eaters, make 
it not improbable that in the caeca not only cellulosis (as in Mam- 
malia) but also chitine is digested. 

Lastly, the presence or absence of the caeca being thus explained 
by the food, a clew "will occasionally be afforded to the systematic 
position of birds in which they appear against reasonable expectation. 
It is clear that change of diet may be accomplished in a much 
shorter time than it takes to modify the various digestive organs. For 
instance, the exclusive meat-diet of the Birds-of-Prey has reduced 
their caeca to mere rudiments, and it is more than improbable that 
the insectivorous habits of many of the smaller Falconidae will ever 
redevelop these organs, especially since these birds throw out the 
indigestible j)arts in pellets. Owls now cannot be distinguished 
from Diurnal Birds-of-Prey by their diet ; they possess large caeca, 
and cannot therefore be derived from the Accipitres, which have lost 
them, nor is it probable that Owls and Accipitres came from one 
common stock and are collateral branches, because in this case both 
would be of equal age, and we should have to assume that the meat- 
diet had in one branch suppressed and in the other branch preserved 
or even increased the caeca. We can only conclude that the Owls 
are descendants of a stock of birds which, like the Nightjars, lived 
on chitinous insects (Beetles, Moths), and that they, like Podargus, 
as shown by its predilection for mice, comparatively recently took 
to the flesh of vertebrates. 

As might be expected, the members of any large and much 



diversified group of birds, like "Waders, Pigeons, Spheniscidae, and 
otliers, have cjeca in various stages of development, but it would 
be a hopeless attempt to explain this diversity in particular instances 
by reference to the preponderance of animal over vegetable diet, of 
which in Avild birds we know so very little. 

CALANDER (" Chalaundre " and " Chelaundre," Chaucer, 
Rommmt of the Bme), Fr. Calandre, and Ital. Calandra, both from the 
Latin caliendrum (a head-dress of false hair), a species of Lark, the 
Alaitda calandrct of Linnaeus, and the Melanocorypha calmidra of 
later writers, described by Willughby after Olina, and figured by 
Edwards {Gleanings, pi. 268) as coming from- Carolina, a curious 
mistake, for the bird is not American, but a well-knoAvn inhabitant 
of Europe, though no proof of its occurrence in Britain has been 
given. It may easily be recognized by its large size, thick bill, 
and interrupted black collar. 

CALAO, the name under which some old writers Avrote of the 
HORNBILLS ; generally adopted for them in French, and found also 
in scientific nomenclature. 

CALAW or CALLOO— generally followed by "Duck"— a 
Shetland name of the Long-tailed Duck. 

CALICO-BIRD, one of the many names given to the Turn- 
stone on the east coast of North America (Trumbull, Names and 
Porir. of B. p. 186). 

CAMPEPHAGA (Caterpillar -eater), the scientific name of a 
genus of birds bestowed by Vieillot, and anglified by Gould for 

certain Australian 
forms, "which, if 
notbelonging to the 
LaniidcV (Shrike), 
are ap^Darently in- 
termediate be- 
tween that Family 
and the Corvidx 
(Crow). By some 
Avriters they are 
regarded as a separate group, Campephagida?, to Avhich are attached 
several other forms that inhabit not only Australia, but the Indian 
and Ethioi)ian Regions. This view will very likely prove correct ; 
but it would 1)e at j)resent premature to trace the limits of the 
group, of which Ceblepi/ris may be an extreme example. One of 
their characteristics is the stiffened shaft of the rump-feathers, so 
as to feel sj)inous to the touch (rf. also Oxynotus). 

CANARY-BIRD, a Finch so-called from the islands whence it 
was apparently first brought, the Fringilla canaria of Linnaeus, and 


Ceblepyris. (After Swaiuson.) 


Serinus caiiarius of modern ■\vi-iters, which has long been the com- 
monest of cage-birds throughout the world. It abounds not only in 
the islands whence it has its name, but in the neighbouring groups 
of the Madeu-as and Azores. It seems to have been imported into 
Europe very early in the sixteenth century. Turner in 1544 
speaks of the birds " quas Anglia aues canarias uocat " ; a statement 
confirmed by the poet Gascoigne, who died in 1577, and speaks 
{Complaint of Philomene, 1. 33) of "Canara byrds." Gesner had 
not seen one in 1555, but he gave an account of it [Ornithol. 
p. 234), communicated to him by Eaphael Seller of Augsburg, under 
the name of Suckeruogele. The wild stock is of an olive-green, 
mottled with dark brown, above, and gi-eenish - yellow beneath. 
All the bright-hued examples we now see in captivity have been 
induced by carefully breeding from any chance varieties that have 
shewn themselves ; and not only the colour, but the build and 
stature of the bird have in this manner been greatly modified. The 
change must have begun early, for Hernandez, who died in 1587, 
described the bird {Hist. Anim. Nov. Bisp. cap. xxviii. p. 20) as 
being wholly yellow (tota lutea) except the end of its wings. ^ Of 
late the ingenuity of "the fancy," which might seem to have 
exhausted itself in the production of topknots, feathered feet, and 
so forth, has brought about a still further change from the original 
type. It has been found that by a particular treatment, in which 
the mixing of large quantities of cayenne-pepper with the food 
plays an important part, the ordinary " canary yellow " may be 
intensified so as to verge upon a more or less brilliant flame colour. 
Bu"ds which have successfully undergone this forcing process, and are 
hence called " hot canaries," command a very high price, for a large 
proportion die under the discipline, though it is said that they 
soon become exceedingly fond of the exciting condiment. But it is 
impossible here to treat of this species in its domesticated state. 
A small library of books has been written on the subject.^ 

Very nearly resembling the Canary-bird, but smaller in size, is 
the Serin, Serinus hortulanus, a species which not long since was 
very local in Europe, and chiefly known to inhabit the countries 
bordering on the Mediterranean. It has of late years pushed its 
way towards the north, and has even been several times taken in 
England (Yarrell's Brit. Birds, ed. 4, ii. pp. 111-116). A closely 
allied species, S. canonims, is peculiar to Palestine. 

In many different parts of the world the word " Canary " is 

^ This book was not published till 1631, and of course there is a possibility of 
the passage being an interpolation, but I know no reason to suspect it. 

^ Those most to be commended are perhaps The Canary Book by Robert L. 
Wallace, Canaries and Cage Birds by AV. A. Blackston, and of course Darwin's 
Animals and Plants under Domestication (i. p. 295). An excellent monograph 
of the wild bird is that by Dr. Carl BoUe {Journ. fiir Orn. 1858, pp. 125-151). 


applied to almost any small bird that is yellow, and not unfrequently 
to some that are not. Thus in the Antilles the name is given to 
certain species of Dendrceca (Warbler), in the Cape Colony to 
Serinus canicoUis, the " Cape Canary," and some of the Ploceidse 
(Weaver-bird),^ in New Zealand to the Clitomjx ochrocephala, while 
in some districts of Australia the BUDJERIGAR is knoAvii as the 
" Canary-Parrot." 

CANVAS-BACK, generally A\-ith the addition of "Duck," the 
Anas vallisneria of Wilson, Fuligula or JEthyia vallisneriana of 
modern ornithology, the North-American bird so famous for its 
delicate flavour — nearly allied to the Pochard. 

CAPERCALLY or CAPERCAILLIE, a word commonly 
derived from the Gaelic CapuU, a horse (or, more jDroperly, a mare), 
and Coille, the genitive of coll, a wood ; but \^^th greater likelihood, 
according to the opinion "vvith which I was favoured by Dr. 
M'Lauchlan, from Cabher, an old man (and, by metaphor, an old 
bird), and Coille — the name of the largest species of Tetraonklm 
(Grouse), Tetrao urogallus, which was formerly indigenous to the 
north of England, to Scotland, and to Ireland. The word is 
frequently spelt othermse, as Capercalze and Capercailzie (the z, a 
letter unknown in Gaelic, being pronounced like y), and the English 
name of Wood-Grouse or Cock-of-the-wood has been often applied 
to the same bii'd. The earliest notice of it as an inhabitant of 
North Britain seems to be by Hector Boethius, whose works were 
published in 1526, and it can then be traced through various 
Scottish writers, though to them it was evidently but little 
known, for about 200 years, or may be more.- However, Bishop 
Lesly, in 1578, assigned a definite habitat to it: — "In Eossia 
quoque Louquhabria [Lochaber], atque aliis montanis locis " {De 
Origine Moribus et rebus gestis Scotorum. Romae : ed. 1675, p. 24). 
Taylor, the water-poet, in his Visit to the Brea of Marr (JForh, 
London: 1630, p. 135) mentions, " caperkellies " among the meats 
provided for the guests of Lord Erskine in 1618; and The Mack 
Book of Taymouth tells (pp. 433, 434) of one that was sent in 1651 
by the laird of Glenorchy to King Charles II, who, being then 
at Perth, "aceei^ted it weel as a raretie, for he had never seen 
any of them." Pennant, during his first tour in Scotland, found 
that it was then (1769) still to be met with in Glen Moriston and 
in the Chisholm's country, whence he saw a cock-bird. We may 
infer that it became extinct about that time, since Robert Gray 
{Birds of the JFest of Scotland, p. 229) quotes the Rev. John Grant 

^ A species of Laniarius, one of the Shrikes, credited ■\vitli preying upon 
some of these little birds, is known as Canarichyter (Layard, B. S. Afr. p. 164). 

- For particulars the reader is referred to Mr. Harvie-Brown's careful volume 
The CapercaiUie in Scotland (Edinburgh : 1879). 


as writing in 1794 : — "The last seen in Scotland was in the woods 
of Strathglass about thirty-two years ago."^ Of its existence in 
Ireland we have scarcely more details. If we may credit the 
Pavones splvestres of Giraldus Cambrensis with being of this species, 
it was once abundant there, and AVillughby (1678) was told that it 
was kno^^^l in that kingdom as the " Cock-of-the-wood." A few 
other ^mters mention it by the same name, and Eutty, in 1772, 
says {Nat. Hist. Dublin, i. p. 302) that "one was seen in the county 
of Leitrim about the year 1710, but they have entirely disappeared 
of late, by reason of the destruction of our woods." Pennant also 
states that about 1760 a few were to be found about Thomastown 
in Tipperary, but no later evidence is forthcoming, and thus it 
would seem that the species was exterminated at nearly the same 
period both in Ireland and Scotland. 

That the Cock-of-the-wood once inhabited England is a dis- 
covery of recent date. It is stated in The Zoologist for 1879 (p. 468) 
that its bones had been found among Roman remains at Settle 
in Yorkshire, though the authority for their determination is not 
given; but the present writer had the pleasure of receiving from 
Mr. James Backhouse a considerable number of its bones, some of 
them unmistakable, found by him in caves that he was investigating 
in Teesdale, and of confirming the conclusion at which he had 
ali'eady arrived. The remains were those of both sexes, and were 
sufiiciently numerous to shew that the species had been common in 
the neighbourhood, and had contributed not a little to the food of 
the people who in a prehistoric age used the caves as dwellings. 

When the practice of planting was introduced, the restoration 
of this fine bird to both countries was attempted. In Ireland the 
trial, of Avhich some particulars are given by Thompson [B. Ireland, 
ii. p. 32), was made at Glengarifi", but it seems to have utterly 
failed, whereas in Scotland, where it was begun in earnest at Tay- 
mouth in 1838, it finally succeeded, and the species is now not 
only firmly established, but has vastly increased in numbers and 
range. Lloyd, the well-known author of several excellent works 
on the A^dld sports and natural history of Scandinavia, supplied the 
stock from Sweden, but it must be always borne in mind that the 
original British race was wholly extinct, and no recent remains of 
it are known to exist in any museum. 

This species is widely, though intermittently, distributed on the 
continent of Europe, from Lapland to the northern parts of Spain, 
Italy, and Greece, but is always restricted to pine-forests, which 

^ Yet Stephens in his continuation of Shaw's General Zoology (ix. p. 268), 
writing in 1819, says that Montagu was present "when one was killed near the 
upper end of Loch Lomond about thirty-five years since." This would mean that 
the species survived until about 1784, but the incident is not mentioned by 
Montagu in his own work, and the assertion may be doubted. 


alone afford it food in winter. Its bones have been found in tlie 
kitchen-middens of Denmark, proving that country to have once 
been clothed with woods of that kind. More lately its remains 
have been recognized from the caves of Aquitaine. Its eastern or 
southern limits in Asia cannot be precisely given, but it certainly 
inhabits the forests of a great part of Siberia. On the Stannovoi 
Mountains, however, it is replaced by a distinct though nearly 
allied species, the T. m'ogalloides, of Dr. von MiddendorfF^ which is 
smaller with a slenderer bill but longer tail. 

The Cock-of-the-wood is remarkable for his large size and 
glossy-black plumage. He is polygamous, and in spring mounts tO' 
the topmost bough of a tall tree, whence he challenges all comers 
by extraordinary sounds and gestures ; while the hens, which are 
much smaller and mottled in colour, timidly abide below the result 
of the frequent duels, patiently submitting themselves to the victor. 
While this is going on it is the practice in many countries, though 
generally in defiance of the law, for the so-called sportsman stealthily 
to draw nigh, and with well-aimed rifle to murder the principal 
performer in the scene. The hen makes an artless nest on the 
ground, and lays therein from seven to nine or even more eggs. 
The young are able to fly soon after they are hatched, and towards 
the end of summer and beginning of autumn, from feeding on the 
fruit and leaves of the bilberries and other similar plants, which 
form the undercovert of the forests, get into excellent condition 
and become good eating. With the first heavy falls of snow they 
betake themselves to the trees, and then, feeding on the pine-leaves, 
their flesh speedily accj^uires so strong a flavour of turpentine as to 
be distasteful to most palates. The usual method of piursuing this 
species on the Continent is by encouraging a trained clog to range 
the forest and spring the birds, which then perch on the trees ; 
while he is baying at the foot their attention is so much attracted 
by him that they permit the near approach of his master, Avho thus 
obtains a more or less easy shot. A considerable number, however, 
are also snared. Hybricls are very frequently produced between 
the Capercally and the Black Grouse, T. tetrix, and the oftspring 
has been described by some authors under the name of T. medius, as 
though a distinct species. 

CAPE -SHEEP, a name absiu-dly given by sailors to the 
Albatros (Layard, B. S. Aft: p. 363). 

CARACARA, a South- American bird, so called by the natives 
of Brazil, first described and figured b}'' JNIarcgrave (Hisf. Nut. 
Brazil, p. 211). In 1782 it became the Falco thanis of Molina 
(Sagg. Stor. Nut. Chili, p. 264), and is the Polyhorus tJiarus of 

^ Not to be confounded with tlie bird so named previously by Nilsson, which 
is an liybrid. 



modern ornithology, — the representative of a small group of birds, 
■which from their Falconine structure and Vulturine habit, to say 
nothing of certain peculiarities, might be not unfitly regarded as 
forming a distinct Family. Three genera, Ibyder which is arboreal, 
MUrago Avhich is not^ and Polyhorus proper are usually admitted ; 
but ]\Ir. Sharpe (Cat. B. Br. Mus. i. p. 34) unites the first two, 
though as the figures here given shew, their bills are very differ- 
ently formed, Avhile he places as of equal rank in the same sub- 


(After Swainson.) 


family Cariama (Seriema) and Serpentarms (Secretary-bird). 
Mr. Ridgway in a careful monograph of the group {^Bull. Geol. 
Geogr. Surv. Territ.- No. 6, pp. 451-473, pis. 22-26) regards a fourth 
genus, Phalcohsenus, as necessary, and Gurney {List. Diurn. B. of 
Prey, pp. 11-14) would have six genera. These birds, Avith some 
others, are the " Carrion -liaAvks " so frequently mentioned in 
DarAAdn's Voyage ; but the fullest description of the habits of those 
frequenting the southern part of South America is by Mr. W. H. 
Hudson {Argent. Ornithology, ii. pp, 74-88) under the names of 
" Chimango " and " Carancho " — the former belonging to Milvago 
and the latter being the species Avhich more to the northward is 
called "Caracara," namely Polyhorus tharns. Still further north- 
AA'ard, extending throughout Guiana and thence to Ecuador, as 
Avell as to Central America, California, and the Gulf States of 
jSTorth America, besides Cuba, a form is found now recognized by 
many as a distinct species under the name of P. cherituay or P. 
o.uduhoni — the last being applied especially to examples from the 
northern side of the Gulf of Mexico ; Avhile the Guadelupe Islands 
on the coast of Lower California possess what is deemed by Mr. 
EidgAvay {nt supra) to be a third species, P, lutosus. All the 
members of this group are said to walk or run on the ground — 
a peculiarity not possessed in perfection by any of the other 
Falconine birds Avith AA^hich they are generally associated. It is 
worthy of remark that, according to Mr. Hudson (ut supra), since 
the introduction of large herds of cattle to the plains of South 
America the abundance of food supplied by their carcases has 
produced a great increase in the numbers of these birds. 


CARDINAL, the name given in different parts of the world to 
various hirds from their scarlet plumage, but perhaps originally 
to the North-American Loxia cardinalis of Linnaeus, the Cardinalis 
virginianus of modern authors, a beautiful and favourite cage-bird, 
which, according to Parker, is one of the Emberizidai (Bunting). 
It is also known as the " Virginian Nightingale " and " Red Bird." 
In the United States it does not usually occur to the northward of 
lat. 40°; but it is common in and one of the most characteristic 
birds of Bermuda. Other birds on which the name "Cardinal" 
has been bestowed belong to the Finches, Tanagers, and Weaver- 

CARIAMA, see Seriema. 

CARINAT^, that division of the Class Aves possessing a 
" keel " {carina) to the sternum, and accordingly so named by 
Merrem in 1812 (Abhandl. Akad. JFissensch. Berlin, 1812-13, 
Physik. Kl. p. 238) ; but generally overlooked by systematists until 
prominently brought forward by Prof. Huxley {Proc. Zool. Soc. 
1867, p. 418) as one of the three " Orders " recognized by him, 
and in the present work regarded as forming a Subclass (see 
Introduction). It may here be observed, however, that among 
the Carinatse are to be included a few forms such as Cnemiornis 
(Cereopsis), Didiis (Dodo), and Strigops (Kakapo), in which the 
keel of the sternum is nearly or wholly wanting, presumably 
through disuse of their volant powers. 

CAROTIDS (from Kapwri^) are the principal arteries which, 
arising from the brachiocephalic arteries, ascend the neck and supply 
the head. They exhibit several modifications which have been 
investigated chiefly by Nitzsch and by Garrod ; but their taxo- 
nomic value is limited. They shew the following seven arrange- 
ments : — 

1. The right and the left carotids converge towards the middle 
line and run side by side (or the left covering the right) in a farrow 
along the ventral surface of the cervical vertebrte. This is 
their normal and original condition, and is found in the majority of 

2. The two carotids fuse into one, for the greater length of the 
neck ; this " carotis conjuncta " is generally imbedded in a special 
median osseous canal formed by the vertebrae ; the right and left 
root or basal portions are both functional, although one of them 
is sometimes weaker, as in Herodii, Phwiiicopterus, and some Old- 
World Parrots. 

3. There is one carotis conjuncta, but the right root, i.e. the 
basal portion of the original right carotis, has been obliterated. The 
artery is a so-called "carotis primaria sinistra." Such "Aves hvvo- 
carotidinx " (Garrod) are very frequent, e.g. Rhea and Apteryx among 



the Ratitae, Podicipes, several Steganopodes, A lea, Otis, Turnix, 
Megapodiidse, some Old- World Psittaci, Merops, Buceros, Upupa, 
Trogonid?e, Cypselidte, Colius, all the Pici and Passeres. 

•4. One carotis conjuncta, but the right root alone is present, 
the left being obliterated. " This carotis primaria dextra " is likewise 
deeply lodged, as in the 2nd and 3rd cases, and has hitherto been 
observed only in Eupodotis. 

In the following three cases, one or two collateral and super- 
ficially-placed arteries take the place of one or both deep carotids. 

5. A carotis primaria s. profunda dextra coexists with a carotis 
superficialis s. collateralis sinistra. All the American and a few 
Old- World Parrots are such " Aves hicarotidinse abnormales " (Garrod). 

6. Two supex^ficial carotids, a right and left, are present, the 
deep or primary vessels being entirely obliterated. Hitherto only 

c.p.d.^ r.c.p.s. 

c.p. c. 


A. B. C. D. 


Ao. Aorta ; suA. A. subclavia dextra ; su.s. A. subclavia sinistra ; A. carotis profunda 
dextra ; c.p.s. A. carotis profunda sinistra ; c.p.c. A. carotis profunda conjuncta ; c.s.s. A. 
carotis superficialis sinistra. 

A. normal condition, two separate deep carotids ; B. the two deep carotids fused into one, 
e.g. Ardea ; C. the same as B, but the root of the left carotid is reduced, e.g. Phoenicopterus ; 
B. the left deep carotid is lost, but supplanted by a superficial vessel, e.g. certain Psittaci. 

observed by Ottley {P.Z.S. 1879, p. 461), as an individual varia- 
tion of Bucorvus abyssinicus. 

7. The only carotis is a c. superficialis sinistra, all the other 
vessels being lost, observed by Forbes in Orthonyx spinicauda (not 
in 0. ochrocephala), this being the only exceptional case of all the 
Passeres hitherto examined. 

It is clear that the 2nd case is directly referable to the 1st, that 
the 3rd and 4th are each independently developed from the 2nd, 
and that the 5th, 6th, and 7th cases are recent and very qualified 
modifications. The undoubtedly independent acquisition of these 
carotid characters renders them valueless for taxonomic purposes, 
except within smaller and well-defined groups, e.g. the Parrots (see 
also Vascular System). 

CARPUS (adj. carpal), /capTro? ; the wrist or articulating region 
between the forearm, or ulna and radius, and the hand. In adult 


birds there are only two sepai-ate carpal bones, one radial, on the 
convex or anterior bend of the wrist, and one ulnar, on the posterior 
or inner angle. Originally the carpus is composed, as in Reptiles 
and Mammals, of a greater number of bones, which are also 
present in the embryos of Birds, but most of them fuse either 
with each other or Avith the adjoining metacarpal bones (see 

CARR-CROW or CARR- SWALLOW, the name used in 
Lincolnshire and perhaps other parts of England for the Black 
Tern in the days when it inhabited this country. The former 
was -written by Willughby — on the authority of his correspondent 
Johnson — " Scare-crow." 

CARR-GOOSE, an old name for the 
Great Crested Grebe (Podicipes cristatus). 

called, according to Edwards (Gleanings, ii. 
p. 181, pi. 295), from the likeness of the 
blue knob on its forehead to the cushew 
or cashew- nut, Avhich is an appendage to 
the fruit of Anacardium occidentale, Linn. 
The bird is the Fauxis galeata of modern 
ornithology, one of the CuRASSOWS. 

CASSOWARY, a corrupted form of the Malayan Snwari 
(Crawfurd, Gramm. and Bid. Malay Language, ii. pp. 178 and 25), 
apparently first printed as Casoarishy Bontius in 1658 (Hist. nat. 
et med. Ind. Orient: p. 71). 

The Cassowaries (Casuariidai) and Emeus [Drommdai) — as the 
latter name is noAv used — have much structin-al resemblance, and 
form the Order Megistanes,'^ which is peculiar to the Aiistralian 
Region. Prof. Huxley has shewn {Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, pp. 422, 
423) that they agree in diflPering from the other Ratit^ in many 
important characters, into the details of which it is now impossible 
to enter ; but one of the most obvious of them is that each contour- 
feather appears to be double, its hyporhachis, or AFTERSHAFT, being 
as long as the main shaft — a feature noticed in the case of either 
form so soon as examples were brought to Europe. The external 
distinctions of the two families are, however, equally plain. The 
Cassowaries, when adult, bear a horny helmet on their head, they 
have some part of the neck bare, generally more or less ornamented 
Avith caruncles, and the claw of the inner toe is remarkably 
elongated. The Emeus have no helmet, their head is feathered, 
their neck has no caruncles, and their inner toes bear a claw of 
no singular character. 

^ Ann. and Macj. Nat. Ilist. ser. 4, xx. \t. .000. 

(After Swainson.) 



The type of the Casuariidm is the species named by Linnaeus 
Struthio casuariiis and by Latham Casuarius emeu. Vieillot sub- 
sequently called it C. galeatus, and his ejDithet has been very 
commonly adopted by "waiters, to the exclusion of the older specific 
appellation. It seems to be peculiar to the island of Oeram, and 
was made known to naturalists, as we learn from Clusius, in 1597, 

Ceraji Cassowary.i 

by the first Dutch expedition to the East Indies, when an example 
was brought from Banda, whither it had doubtless been conveyed 
from its native island. It was said to have been called by the 
inhabitants " Emeu," or " Ema," but this name they must have had 
from the earlier Portuguese navigators.^ Since that time examples 

^ The figure is taken, hj permission, from Messrs. Mosenthal and Harting's 
Ostriches and Ostrich Farming (London : 1877). 

" It is known that the Portuguese preceded the Dutch in their voyages to 
the East, and it is almost certain that the latter were assisted by pilots of the 


have been continually imported into Europe, so that it has become 
one of the best -known members of the subclass Ratitse, and a 
description of it seems hardly necessary. For a long time its 
glossy, but coarse and hair-like, black plumage, its lofty helmet, 
the gaudily -coloured caruncles of its neck, and the four or five 
barbless quills which represent its wing-feathers, made it appear 
unique among birds. But in 1857 Dr. George Bennett certified 
the existence of a second and perfectly distinct species of 
Cassowary, an inhabitant of New Britain, where it was known to 
the natives as the Mooruk, and in his honour it was named by 
Gould 0. bennetti. Several examples were soon after received in 
this country, and these confirmed the view of it already taken. 
Mne good species, with the possibility of a tenth, are recognized 
by Prof. Salvadori in his great work, Ornithologia della Papuasia e 
delle Molucche (iii. pp. 473-503), the heads of all of them having 
been previously figured by him in an excellent monograph of the 
genus {Mem. Accad. Sc. Torino, 1882), from various localities in the 
same Subregion. Conspicuous among them from its large size and 
lofty helmet is the C. cmstralis, from the northern parts of Queens- 
land. Its existence indeed had been ascertained, by the late Mr. 
T. S. Wall, in 1854, but the specimen obtained by that unfortunate 
explorer was lost, and it was not until 1866 that an example was 
submitted to competent naturalists (Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, p. 241). 

Not much seems to be known of the habits of any of the 
Cassowaries in a state of nature ; but Prof. Salvadori (ut supra) 
has collected, wdth his usual assiduity, almost everything that can 
be said on the subject. Though the old species occurs rather 
plentifully over the whole of the interior of Ceram, Mr. Wallace 
was unable to obtain or even to see an example. They all appear 
to bear captivity well, and the hens in confinement frequently lay 
their dark green and rough-shelled eggs, which, according to the 
custom of the PuUitx, are incubated by the cocks. The nestling 
plumage is mottled {Proc. Zool. Soc. 1863, pi. xlii.), and when 
about half-grown they are clothed in dishevelled feathers of a deep 
tawny colour. 

CAT-BIRD in North America is the name of a common and fami- 
liar summer-visitant, Mhnus caroUnensis, one of the MOCKING-BIRDS, 
which in addition to the mewing and harsh cry for which it is 
notorious, is also a remarkably good songster ; in Australia the 
birds of the genus Ailumdus (Bower-BTRd), and especially A. crassi- 
rostris, or smitlii of some authors, are so called for the same reason. 

CECOMORPHiE, the third group of Prof. Huxley's Suborder 
SCHIZOGNATH^ {Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, pp. 457, 458), composed of 

former nation, whoso names for places and various natural objects would be 
imparted to their cnqjloyers (see Alhatkos, lioouv, and Dono). 


the Families Laridie (Gull), Procellariidai (Petrel), Colymbidse 
(Diver), and Akidai (Auk). 

CEDAE-BIED, a name given in North America to a delicately- 
coloured and rather common bird Avipelis cedrorum, or carolinensis of 
some authors, for a long while confounded with its larger congener 
A. garrulus (Waxwing), which it much resembles in appearance 
and characters — among them the dilatation at the tip of the 
secondarj^ Aving-quills looking like red sealing-wax ; but it is much 
smaller and plainer in plumage. 

CELEOMORPH^, Prof. Huxley's name {Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, 
p. 467) for the group containing the Picidse (Woodpecker) and 
Iijngidm (Wryneck), to which he found it difficult to assign a 
place. Parker subsequently (Trans. R. Microsc. Soc. 1872, p. 219) 
raised them to a higher rank as Saurognath^. 

CEPiE or CEPiOMA (from cera, wax), the soft, generally some- 
Avhat swollen skin which covers the base of the upper bill, especially 
well defined in Parrots and Diurnal Birds-of-Prey (see Bill). 

CEREOPSIS, a genus founded by Latham in 1801 (Suppl. Ind. 
Orn. p. Ixvii.) on a single specimen of a bird received from Aus- 
tralia apparently in poor condition, and placed by him in the Order 
GralLxE. a truer view of its position 
was, however, taken by those who had 
observed it in its own country, where it 
became known as the "Cape- Barren 
Goose" from its occurring at that spot.^ 
However abnormal in appearance this 
bird may be with its short bill thickened 
at the base, its rather long legs and 
semipalmated feet, and its grey plumage 

spotted mth black on the wing-coverts ^ekeopsis. (After S^yainson.) 

and scapulars ; in its internal structiu-e, as described by Yarrell {Proc. 
Zool. Soc. 1831, pp. 25, 26), it does not differ in the least important 
character from other Geese, and in its habits, whether at large or in 
confinement, is a thorough Goose. It has been introduced into 
England for more than 60 years, examples having been transferred 
from Windsor, where it had bred freely in the menagerie of King 

^ According to Sonniiii, who calls it " Le Cygne cendre " (N'. Diet, d'hist. nat. 
vii. p. 68), it was first noticed by Labillardiere in Esperance Bay on the south 
coast of New Holland, during the search by D'Entrecasteaux for La Perouse in 
1792. Collins in 1802 {New South Wales, ii. p. 94) ascribes its discovery by the 
English settlers to one of the company of the ' Sydney Cove, ' who took it for a 
Swan ; and Flinders, who was there in February 1798, accordingly named from it 
two islands on the north coast of Van Dieman's Land. Bass gave the first intel- 
ligible description, stating that it "was either a Brent or a Barnacle Goose or 
between the two. " 


George IV, to the Gardens of the Zoological Society at its founda- 
tion. Indeed, it is not at all improbable that there are more living 
examples at this time in Eiu"ope than in Australia, where even 
when Gould was there he found it to have been extirpated in places 
where a few years before it had been abundant. 

Additional interest is imparted to this by the discovery in New 
Zealand of remains originally attributed by Sir E. Owen {Proc. Zool. 
Soc. 1865, p. 438) to the Dinornithine group (Mo a) under the 
name of Cnemiornis calcUrans, and subsequently fully described by 
him (Trans. Zool. Soc. v. pp. 395-404, pis. Ixiii.-lxvii.). The acquisi- 
tion in 1872 of a further collection of bones of this extinct bird 
enabled Sir James Hector to recognize in it a large Goose, probably 
allied to Cereopsis and of similar habits, but in which the power of 
flight had become obsolete, and as such he described it before the 
Wellington Philosophical Society, 18th August 1873 {Trans. N. Zeal. 
Inst. vi. pp. 76-84, pis. x.-xiv.A), communicating his results also to 
the Zoological Society of London, in whose Proceedings for the same 
year they will be found (pp. 763-771, pis. Ixv.-lxviii.), as well as to 
Sir K. Owen, who lost no time in preparing an additional memok 
on the subject, subsequently published in that Society's Transactions 
(ix. pp. 253-272, pis. xxxv.-xxxix.), and acquiescing in Sir James's 
determination of the position and relations of this remarkable 
form. A good many more of its bones have since been obtained, 
and no doubt can exist on the subject, though the precise epoch at 
which it became extinct cannot be regarded as settled. 

CHACHALACA or Chiacalacca, so called in Texas from its 
cry (Coues, Key N. Am. B. p. 573), Orialis maccalli (see Guan). 

CHAFFINCH, a well-known bird, the Fr'mgilla coelebs ^ of orni- 
thology, which may be regarded as the type-form of the Fringillidse 
(Finch). This handsome and sprightly species, which is so 
common throughout the whole of Europe, requires no description. 
Conspicuous by his variegated plumage, his peculiar call-note -, and 
his glad song, the cock is almost everywhere a favourite. In 
Algeria our Chaffinch is replaced by a closely-allied species, F. 
spodogenia, while in the Atlantic Islands it is represented by tAVO 
others, F, tintillon and F. teijdea all of which, while possessing 

^ This fanciful trivial name was given by Linnaeus on the supposition (which 
later observations do not entirely confirm) that in Sweden the hens of the species 
migrated southward in autumn, leaving the cocks to lead a celibate life till 
spring. It is certain, however, that in some localities the sexes live apart during 
the winter. 

- This call-note, which to many ears sounds like "pink" or " spiuk," not 
only gives the bird a name in many parts of Britain, but is also obviously the 
origin of the German Finlc and our Finch. The similar Celtic form Pine is said 
to have given rise to the Low Latin Pincio, and thence come the Italian Piacione, 
the Spanish Pinzon, and the French Pinson. 


the general appearance of the European bird, are clothed in soberer 
tints. Another species of true Fringilla is the Bramble-finch. 

CHAM-^A,^ a genus instituted by Gambel {Proc. Ac. K S. 
Fh'dad. 1847, p. 154) for a cui'ious little bird from the coast-district 
of California which he had previously described (op. cit. 1845, p. 
265) as Farus fasciatus but found to require separation. In the 
difficulty of assigning a position to this and a more recently dis- 
covered congeneric form, C. henshawi, from the interior of the same 
country, systematists have resorted to considering the genus as the 
type and sole member of a distinct Family Chamseidce, which, if its 
validity be allowed, proves to be the only Family of Land-birds that 
is peculiar to the Nearctic area. Thus it becomes a factor of some 
importance in determining the question whether that area should 
rank as a Zoogeographical or at least as an Ornithogeographical 
Eegion. It is impossible here to give details of a matter which has 
agitated the best ornithologists of North America, and reference 
can only be made to Dr. Shufeldt's paper " On the position of 
Chamxa in the System," published in 1889 at Boston in Massa- 
chusetts (Journ. Morphol. iii. pp. 475-502), wherein the evidence is 
very carefully weighed, and the conclusion reached is to the effect 
that it is more nearly related to the Colombian Cinnicerthia than to 
any other, but the author abstains from declaring the value of 
Chamseidse as a Family, though of the two, to one or other of which 
it has generally been referred — namely the Faridse (Titmouse) and 
Troglodytidse (Wren) — he sees most resemblance to the former. So 
far as one can judge from the habits of the birds as described by 
observers, they are more those of a Wren than of a Titmouse ; 
while the blue eggs which it is said to lay removes it really from 
the category of either. In the absence then of any very strong 
reason for disputing what has been asserted by no mean authori- 
ties, it would seem better for the present to let the Family 
Chamxidse stand. 

CHANNEL-BILL, Latham's name in 1802, and since generally 
used, for a bird described and figured by Phillips in 1789 (Foy. 
Botany Bay, p. 165, pi.) as the "Psittaceous Hornbill," and by 
John White in 1790 (Journ. Foy. N. S. TFales, p. 142, pi.) as the 
"Anomalous Hornbill," which was apparently first obtained 16th 
April 2 1788, and therefore not long after the foundation of the 
colony. Latham seeing the need of a new genus for it, made one, 

^ This word not having been accepted as English has strictly no right to head 
an article, but the only names applied to the birds to which it refers, " Bush- 
Tit " and " Ground-Wren," have not enough special meaning to justify their 
insertion, while the form, as will be seen in the text, is important enough to 
require particular notice. 

^ But according to other accounts this species leaves New South Wales in 
January, only returning in October to breed. 



Scytlirops, and as S. novm-hollanclise it has been almost always recog- 
nized ever since, though its systematic position has often been 
disputed — its large and curiously grooved bill inducing some to 
refer it to the Bucerotidse (Hornbill), while its zygodactyl feet 
caused others to place it among the Ehampliastklse (Toucan). It is 
now generally allowed to belong to the Cuculidse (CuCKOw). 

CHAPAREAL-COCK, so called from the chaparral or dwarf 
forest Avhich it frequents, the name commonly given by English- 
speaking settlers in the south-western dis- 
tricts of North America to a curious form 
of CucKOW, Geococcyx, of which there 
are two species. The first, described by 
Hernandez {Hist. Anim. Nov. Hispan. p. 
25, cap. lii.) under the name of Hoitlal- 
lotl, and then identified by Buffon A^dth 
the Paraha of Barrere {France Equinox. 
p. 140), was mistaken by Latham for 
the Parr aqua figured by Bajon in 1777 
{Mem. pour Vhist de Cayenne, i. p. 374, pi. 
i.), and became the Phasiamis mexieanus 
of Gmelin. This, being the southern 
form, is presumably that which is 
usually called G. affinis. The second, a 
larger bird, inhabits New Mexico and the 
adjacent part of the United States of 
America, and, under the name of Sauro- 
thera californiana, was described by 
Lesson {Compl. Buffon, vi. p. 420) as one 
of the most interesting discoveries of 
modern times. The habits of both seem 
to be very similar and A^ery remarkalile. 
They have short "wings, and seldom fly 
unless suddenly surprised, but run with 
great speed, bearing their long tail erect. 
Like others of their Family in the New 
"World they build their OAvn nests, though 
clumsily, and lay therein from two to 
four Avhite eggs. "When tamed, as these 
Chaparral-cock. (After Svainson.) birds often are, they becomc expert 

mousers, but arc so mischievous, says 
]\[r. Dresser {Ilns, 1865, p. 467), as hardly to be suffered in a 
house. The name Paisano (countrjnnan) by Avhich this species is 
known in some districts is said to be a corruption of Faisan 
(Pheasant). " Koad-r miner " is another name fre((uently given to 
it. The osteology of the sjiecies has been miiuitely described by 




IcTERiA. (After Swainson.) 

Dr. Shufeldt [Joiirn. Anat. and Physiol, xx. pp. 246-266, pis. vii.-ix., 
and xxi. pp. 101, 102). 

CHAKADRIOMORPH^, the first group of Prof. Huxley's 
Suborder Scldzognathse (Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, p. 457), nearly cor- 
responding with the Pressirostres and Longirostres of Cuvier, and the 
Limicola} or Scolopaces of Nitzsch — or in other words including 
almost all the Scolopacidse (Snipe) and Charadriidse (Plover) of 
other systematists. 

CHAT, in England generally used Avith a i3refix as Stonechat, 
AVhixchat, but in the valley of the Thames 
said of itself to signify the Sedge- Warbler. 
In North America it is applied to the tAvo 
forms of the genus Ideria (I. virens and 
/. longicauda), which is generally referred to 
the Family Mniotdtidx, or American War- 
blers, but may possibly not belong to them, 
its stout bill being very unlike that possessed 
by the rest. 

CHATTERER, a word that has been used by ornithologists in 
a very wide sense, and Avholly irrespective of its meaning. Gesner's 
name for the AVaxwing, Garndus Boliemicus (i.e. Bohemian Jay), 
having been erroneously rendered by Ray, in his translation of 
AVillughby's Ornithology (p. 133), "Bohemian Chatterer"; and that 
bird being also the Ampelis of Aldrovandus, subsequent Avriters, 
Pennant and Latham, used " Chatterer " as the equivalent of 
Avipelis, when Linnaeus had founded a genus with that name, quite 
regardless of its inapplicability. This genus being very composite 

in its character 
was naturally 
broken up, and 
the name Am])elis 
having been re- 
tained by the more 
accurate writers in 
its original sense 
for the AVaxwing 
and its congeners, 
the name Chatterer 
has been generally 
conferred, for want of a better, on a group of birds, one of 
the most beautiful of which Brisson had termed Cotinga. This 
gToup, all the members of which inhabit the Neotropical Region, 
is a very natural one, and has long been regarded as a separ- 
ate Family, properly called Cotingidx, though it is closely allied 
to the Pipridse (Manakin), and together they form the divi- 


(After Swainson.) 



sion Heteromeri of the Mesomyodi of Garrod and Forbes (see 
Introduction). Mr. Sclater, who adds thereto Piupicola (Cock-of- 
the-Rock) and an allied genus, which Garrod had put among his 
HoMCEOMERi, divides the Cotingidm into five subfamilies (Cat B. Br. 


(After Swainson.) 


Mus. xiv. pp. 326-405), Tityrma3 with 3 genera, Llpauginx Avith 4, 
Attilinx diwd. Pbupicolinse each with 2, Cotinginai Avith 11, and Gymno- 
derinie Avith 7 {see Bell-bird, partim, and Uinlbrella-bird). A 
considerable number of these birds are remarkable for the extra- 
ordinarily abnornal form of some of their Aving - quills, and 
occasionally of their Aving-coverts — a feature in the former case 
observable also among the Pipridse, and, where existing, generally 
confined to the male sex. Many of them also are brilliantly 
coloured, and at least one, Xipholcna pompadora — knoAAOi as the 
Pompadour ^ Chatterer, is of a hue scarcely to be seen in any other 

CHEEPER, the young of any kind of bird that cheeps or utters 
a loAv plaintiA^e note, especially used of game-birds. Grouse, 
Partridges, or Pheasants ; but also a name of the Tit Lark, 
though mostly AAdth a prefix, as Moss-Cheeper or the like. 

CHEER or CHIR, the Anglo-Indian name of Phasianus tvaUichi, 
a fine but plainly-coloured Pheasant, a native of the "Western 

CHENOMORPH^, the first group of Prof. Huxley's Suborder 
Desmognath^ {Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, p. 460), composed of the 
Anatidm of most authors — the DuCKS and their allies, among Avhich 
he includes Palamedea (Screamer). 

1 So named by Edwards {Gleanings, ii. p. 1275, pi. 341) after the celebrated 
Madame de roiiipadour, to whom it and other birds were being sent, when the 
ship that bore them from Cayenne fell a prize to a British cruiser. 



CHEPSTER, possibly a corruption of Shepster, a Starling. 

CHEEEY-BIED, a name of the Cedar-Bird. 

CHERRY-PICKER, the Tasmanian name, according to Gould 
{Hanclb. B. Austral, i. p. 565), of a species of Melithreptus (Honey- 


CHERRY-SUCKER, a name absurdly given in some parts of 
England to the Spotted Flycatcher. 

CHICKADEE, a North American name for various species of 
Titmouse — no doubt from their call-note. 

CHICKEN", abbreviated CHICK, the young of any biixl, but 
generally signifying that of the domestic Fowl. 

CHIFFCHAFF, occasionally CHIPCHOP, Phylloscopus coUyUta, 
or nifiis of some authors, the smallest of the three native species of 
the genus, which are often called collectively Willow- Wrens. 
The name is doubtless an attempt to syllable the bird's ordinary 
cry (see Song), and seems to be first found in Gilbert White's 
Observations (p. 77) published in 1795 after his death by Aiken. 

CHOANj^ (xodvT], a tube or funnel) are the internal openings 
of the nasal cavities into the mouth, situated on the palate or roof 
of the mouth, generally between the maxillo-palatine and pterygoid 

CHOK, a name used in the Cape Colony for one of the Eagles, 
Aquila raj}az (Layard, B. S. Afr. p. 10). 

CHOUGH, a bird much better known, generally with the prefix 
" Cornish," by name than by observation, the Pyrrhocorax or Fregilus 
graculus of ornithology, one of the Corvidse (Crow), and formerly 
a denizen of the precipitous cliffs of the south coast of England, of 
Wales, of the west and north coast of Ireland, of the south of 
Scotland, and some of the Hebrides, but now greatly reduced in 
numbers, and only found in such places as are most free from the 
intrusion of man or of the Daw, Corvus monedula, which last seems to 
be gradually dispossessing it of its sea-girt strongholds, and its 
present scarcity is probably in the main due to its persecution by 
its kindred. In Britain, indeed, it would appear to be only one of 
the survivors of a more ancient fauna, for in other countries where 
it is found it has been driven inland, and inhabits the higher 
mountains of Europe and North Africa. In the Himalayas a larger 
form occurs, which has been specifically distinguished, F. hima- 
layanus, but whether justifiably so may be doubted. The general 
colour is a glossy black with steel-blue reflections, and it has the 
bill and legs bright red.^ Another species, P. alpinus, is altogether 

^ Shakespear's expression, " russet-pated chouglis " {Mids.-NigMs Dream, act 
iii. sc. ii,) lias mueli exercised his commentators. Some see in it that "pated" 


a mountaineer, and does not affect a sea-shore life. A single 
example has occurred in England, and is figured in Mr. Aplin's 
Birds of Oxfordshire, but the possibility of its having escaped from 
captivity is not to be overlooked, though the species has reached a 
spot so distant from its home as Heligoland. The Alpine Chough 
is somewhat smaller than its congener, and is easily distinguished 
by its shorter and bright yellow bill. Remains of both have been 
found in French caverns, the deposits in which were formed during 
the "Reindeer Age." Commonly placed by systematists next to 
Pyrrliocorax is the Australian genus Corcorax, represented by a single 
species, C. melanorhamphus, but osteologists must be further consulted 
before this assignment of the bird, Avhich is chiefly a frequenter of 
woodlands, can be admitted without hesitation. 

CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW, so syllabled in North America from 
the bird's cry. One of the Caprimidgidse (Goatsucker), Antrostomus 
carolinus, much larger than but congeneric with the Whip-POOR- 
wiLL, A. vociferus. 

CHURN-OWL, one of the many names of the common Night- 
jar of Eiu"ope. 

CIRCULATION, or circulatory system, signifies motion of the 
blood, which is pumped by the heart through the blood-vessels. 
Birds, like Mammals, possess a comjDlete double circulation, namely 
(1) that of the body, from the left ventricle of the heart into the 
aortic arch, thence through the arteries of the body, returning by 
the veins into the right auricle, and (2) the pulmonary circulation, 
from the right ventricle into and through the lungs, returning by 
the pulmonary veins into the left auricle, and thence into the left 
ventricle (see Vascular System). 

CITRIL, the name under Avhich Ray and Willughby in 1663 
became acquainted at Vienna with a Finch, and now occasionally 
used for it in German, though it is more commonly known as 
Citronenfink, the allusion in each case being to the colour of its 
plumage, which some consider to be of a citron hue, but is mostly 
of a yellowish-green. The bird is the Venturon of the French, the 
Chrysoviitris citrinella of modern ornithology — a common species in 
southern and parts of central Europe, but seldom occurring much 
further northward than the Black Forest. It usually frequents 
mountainous districts, keeping to the neighbourhood of fir-trees, 
though chiefly feeding on the seeds of grasses and other lowly- 
growing plants. 

meant "patted" or footed (c/. tlie heraldic croix patie), and that therefore it 
refers to this bird with its red feet. Others maintain that "russet" did not 
necessarily mean red, but was frequently used for grey, and accordingly that 
the Daw with its grey head was intended. 


CLARIS, a Scottish name for the Bernacle. 

CLAMATORES, the third Order of Birds according to the 
arrangement of Andreas Wagner {Arch, fur Nahirgesch. 1841, ii. p. 
93), in which he inckided all the PiCARi^ of Nitzsch which were 
not Zygodactyl or Amphibolic. Subsequently Prof. Cabanis 
(op. cit. 1847, i. pp. 209-256, and ii. pp. 336-345) gave in greater 
detail the FamiHes, subfamilies, and genera which he believed the 
" Order " should comprise, and his are the views which have been 
adopted by most of the systematic writers who have recognized it. 

CLAVICLES (Lat. davicula, the collar-bone). Each clavicle 
articulates by its dorsal end with a process on the median side of 
the dorsal end of the coracoid, or with the scapula, or with both ; 
the ventral ends of the two clavicles generally fuse with each other, 
forming the FuRCULA, and approach the anterior end of the crest 
of the sternum. Between them the OESOPHAGUS and the Trachea 
pass from the neck into the thoracic cavity (see Skeleton). 

CLAWS or NAILS are the horny sheaths of the terminal 
phalanges of the toes and fingers, generally curved, and often 
sharply pointed. They are produced by a thickening of the Mal- 
pighian layer, which forms the " nailbed " out of which the corneous 
cells grow. The toes of most birds are protected by claws or flat 
nails, only in the Ostrich the outer toe has no nail, or hardly 
any, but the often reduced hallux is frequently unprotected. The 
inner side of the nail of the third toe is often serrated like a fine 
comb, as in Cormorants, Herons (including Scopus), Ibis, Dromas, 
Cursorius, Glareola, also in many Nightjars ; in Podicipes the distal 
margin of the third nail is serrated. 

Nilsson, Meves, Stejneger, Collett, and Malmgren (c/. Dresser, 
B. Eur. vii. p. 189, pi. 485) have described the periodical shedding 
of the claAvs in Lagopus, which grow to a considerable length during 
Avinter, the seasonal extension dropping off in spring as do the 
horny fringes on the toes in the Black Grouse, Capercally, and allied 

Claws on the tips of the fingers are much rarer. Archseopteryx 
had a well-developed hooklike claw on each of its three fingers. In 
recent birds such claws are restricted, when occurring at all, to 
the pollex and index, being sometimes surprisingly well developed, 
although hardly functional. They occur more or less regularly on 
the first two fingers in Struthio and Ehea (occasionally as embry- 
onic traces even on the third finger), also in Anseres and Birds-of- 
Prey (e.g. Milvus and Cathartes). A pollex claw alone has been 
found in various Anseres, in Gallus, Birds-of-Prey (especially well 
developed in the Kestrel), and individually in the Whitethroat 
and in the Blackbird.^ An index claw alone occurs in Casuarius, 

■^ Such an example of the Whitethroat is in Mr. Seebohm's collection, and 



Dromaeus, and Apteryx. Probably many more birds will be found 
in wbicli such fingernails have remained dormant as latent germs 
and have individually been revived ; but the taxonomic value of 
these ancestral vestigial structures is nil. 

Spurs are claws and nails in a different sense. They are 
generally conical, consisting of a horny sheath which surrounds a 
bony core produced by the supporting bone. Hereto belong those 
on the metatarsus of many Phasianidse. Similar structures occur 
on the bones of the wrist and hand, namely a long and sharp 
spur with strong bony core on the radial side of the first and 
one on the second metacarpal bone in Chauna derbiana ; on the 
first metacarpal in Parra and in Hydrophasianus ; and on the radial 
carpal bone in Plectropterus. The large exostoses of the size of a 
Avalnut on the ^vrist of the male Pezophaps were probably likewise 
covered -with a thickened horny layer, and were, like all these 
structures, used as weapons. Young spurs can be easily grafted on 
various parts of other animals. 

CLOACA, the dilated terminal portion of the alimentary canal, 
which opens through the vent, and besides the faeces, discharges 
the urine and the genital products. The whole cloaca of most birds 
is divided by transverse folds into a vestibulum, a urino- genital 
or middle, and a rectal or innermost chamber. 

The urino-genital chamber or " urodseum " is small, and receives 
in its dorso-lateral walls the ureters and the genital ducts, which are 
protected by papillse. Above their orifices is a circular fold, most 
prominent on the ventral side ; below them, towards the vent, is 
another well-marked circular fold, which, towards the ventral 
aspect, passes into the coating of the copulatory organ, when 
such is present. The space between this fold and the outer 
anal opening, which is closed by a strong sphincter muscle, lodges 
the copulatory organ, and on its dorsal wall leads through a wide 
opening into the lursa, Fahricii. This organ is peculiar to birds, is 
most developed in the young of both sexes, and often becomes 
more or less obliterated in the adult ; its function is still unknoAvn ; 
it certainly is not a lymphatic gland, and the occurrence of spernia 
in it is accidental. 

The innermost chamber, or " coprodteum," is situated above the 
urodseum, is mostly an oval dilatation of the rectum, and is of 
considerable size in those birds whose faeces are very fluid, as 
Accipitrcs, Hcrodii, and Steganopodcs. In Casuarius and Elioa 
it passes gradually into the i-ectum above, but in many Carinata^, 
as well as in Struthio, the upper end is marked by a strong circular 
fold, and the inner surface of the walls is smooth and diU'erent from 

one of tlio l)lacl<bird, from Syria, Avas described by Bonajnirte {Comptcs rcndus, 
1856, xliii. p. 412) as a new species under tlie name of Morula dactylojptcra. 



that of the rectum proper. In Struthio this chamber is followed 
by another, which is smaller and less defined, resembling in this 
respect some Saurians. 

It follows from the arrangement described above, that in Birds 
the urine is not retained in the small urodseum, 
but that, as in Saurians, it passes into the next 
chamber above. Through this the faeces pass ; 
if they are very fluid, they collect in the then 
very capacious space, together with the urine, 
and transform the chamber into a physiological 
cloaca. If the faeces are more solid, as for 
instance in Geese, they are retained in the 
rectum proper, and simply pass through the 
cloaca. In the Ostriches defsecation and 
micturition are mostly separate acts, especially 
when the largely-developed and persistent bursa 
Fabricii acts as a physiological bladder. A 
true urinary bladder, i.e. a ventral dilatation of 
the urodseum, is absent in Birds. 

The copulatory organ in the male, and the 
corresponding part in the female, are developed 
from the ventral wall of the vestibulum or 
"proctodseum." It is present in two different 
forms. In the Ratitee, except Rhea, it consists of a right and left 
united half, with a deep longitudinal furrow on the dorsal side, and 
strongly resembles the same organ in Crocodiles and Tortoises ; it can 
be protruded and retracted by special muscles which in the Ratitse 
are partly attached to the pelvic bones. In Rhea, and among the 
Carinatse in the Anseres only, the copulatory organ consists like- 
Avise of two halves with a longitudinal furrow, but is greatly special- 
ized by being spirally twisted and being reversible like the finger 
of a glove ; its muscles are derived solely from the sphincter muscle 
of the vent. In other Carinatse, for instance in the Tinamidge, 
Cracidge, in Platalea, Ciconia, and Phoenicopterus, the penis is much 
smaller and simpler in structure, Avith all the appearance of a 
degraded organ. In the majority of Birds, especially in the highest, 
it has disappeared, and the primitive way of everting the cloaca is 
resorted to during copulation (H. Gadow, Phil. Trans. 1887, 
p. 32). 

Diagram of the 
Cloaca of a Bird. 

BF. Bursa Fabricii ; 
CD. Coproclffiura ; U.B. 
Urodfeum ; P. D. Procto- 
dfeum ; B. Rectum ; u. 
ureter ; v.d. vas de- 

COACHWHIP-BIRD, SO called in eastern Australia from its 
loud full note, ending sharply like the crack of a whip, the Psophodes 
crepitans of ornithologists, Avhile a second form, P. nigrigularis takes 
its place further westward. Beside this curious utterance it has a 
low, inward, melodious song. It inhabits the thickest brushAvood, 
seldom exposing itself to AdcAv ; but A\'hen seen is veiy animated in 


all its actions, raising its crest and spreading its tail. Originally- 
described by Latham as a Flycatcher, MuscicajM, Vigors and Hors- 
field saw the need of founding a neAv genus for it, though they 
admitted their ignorance of its position. Its short rounded wings 
induced G. R. Gray to place it among his Crateropodin^, and until its 
internal structure has been examined there it must remain. If, how- 
ever, the eggs be so curiously marked as they are described by Gould 
{Handh. B. Austral, i. p. 314), it would seem unlikely to belong to 
that gToup, and that ornithologist placed the genus next to Menura 
(Lyre-bird) — not that any affinity thereto follows in consequence. 

COALMOUSE (sometimes ^svrongly spelt " Colemouse "), Germ. 
Kohlmeise, the Coal-TiTMOUSE, Panis ater, or as some would have 
it F. hrifannicus. 

COB, Dutch Kaap and Kohhe, according to Montagu a name for 
the Great Black-backed Gull, Lams marinus, but applied in the 
present writer's knowledge to almost any of the larger species of 
Sea-Gull. Yarrell says {Br. B. ed. 1, iii. p. 130):— "In the 
language of swanherds, the male Swan is called a Cob, the female 
a Pen : these terms refer to the comparative size and grade of the 
two sexes " ; but corroboration of the first statement has been 
sought in vain, while the second is hardly intelligible. 

COBBLER'S-AWL, a fanciful name given to the AVOSET until its 
extermination in the country ; and, according to Gould {Handh. B. 
Austral, i. p. 551), now used by the colonists of Tasmania for the 
Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris one of the Meliphagidai (Honey-sucker), 
known in eastern Australia as the Spine-bill. The shape of the 
bill has in both cases suggested the name, but it is far less appro- 
priate in the latter than in the former. 

COCCYGOMORPH^, the seventh section of DESMOGNATiiiE 
according to Prof. Huxley's scheme {Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, pp. 466, 
467), comprehending 14 Families which are arranged in foiu" groups, 
viz. a, Coliidm (Mouse-bird); b, Musophagidse (Plantain-eater and 
TouRACo), Cuculidm (CucKOw), Bucconidse (Puff-bird), Bha^n- 
phastida} (Toucan), Capitonidx (Barbet), Galbulida} (Jacajmar) ; 
c, Alcedinidx (Kingfisher), Bucerotidce (Hornbill), Upupidx 
(Hoopoe), Meropidm (Bee-eater), Momotidai (Motmot), Coraciidx 
(Roller) : and d, Trogonidse (Trogon) — all of which are in the 
present work regarded as PiCARliE. 

COCKATEEL, a bird-fancier's name lately invented by Mr. 
Jamrach, and now in common use, being an English adaptation of 
KaJcatielje, which in its tui'n is supposed to be a Dutch sailor's 
rendering of a Portuguese word, OacatiUw or Cacaielho, meaning a 
little Cockatoo, and applied to the Australian Cockatoo-Parrakcet, 
Calopsiita novgs-lwUandiai, a favourite cage-bird. 


COCKATOO, Malay Kakatita, a name used in England and, 
with some modification of spelling, in other European countries for 
more than 200 years, and undoubtedly taken from the cry of one or 
other of the well-known birds so called, though it would be impossible 
to say Avhich of them. With the exception of one species which 
inhabits the Philippine Islands, the Cockatoos are peculiar to the 
Australian Region, and are especially abundant in that portion of 
the Malay Archipelago which is included in it, but they do not go 
farther eastward than the Solomon Islands. They seem to be a 
very natural group of the Order Fsittaci (Parrot), and some -vvidters 
would regard them as forming a Family Cacatuidse or Plidolophidx, 
while others consider the loAver rank of a subfamily sufficient for 
them. Six genera are pretty generally admitted, Cacatua, Callo- 
cephalon, CalojmUams (Cockateel), Calyptorliynclms, Licmetis, and 
Microglossa — the first containing all the species ordinarily called 
Cockatoos and kept in confinement, which are commonly white with 
yellow, or pink crests. The second genus has only one species, an 
iron-grey bird mth a bright red head. The fourth contains the large 
black species of Australia, with a long tail banded with scarlet, 
yellow or cream-colour. The fifth has a considerable resemblance 
to the first, but the birds have a slender bill, while the sixth com- 
prises the largest forms to be found in the Order, birds whose 
wholly black plumage is relieved by their bare cheeks of bright red. 
In striking contrast to these last some systematists would j^lace 
among the Cockatoos the smallest of the Parrot-tribe, members of 
the genus Nasiterna, from New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, 
but that as Dr. Murie has shewn (Proc. Zool. Soc. 1865, p. 622), 
really presents no sort of resemblance to them. 

COCK-OF-THE-PLAINS, one of the American Tetraonid^ 
(Grouse), Centrocercus urophasianus. 

COCK-OF-THE-EOCK, a " familiar name," according to Swain- 
son in 1837 (Classif. B. ii. p. 76), "long bestowed" on a bird from 
the northern parts of South America ; but his seems to be the first 
rendering into English of the old French Coq-de-roche, or Coc-des-roches 
as Barrere (Fr. Equmox. p. 132) has it. The flat-sided crest borne 
by the bird was likened by the colonists to that of the Hoopoe, and 
accordingly he in 1745 (Omithol. p. 46) placed it in the genus 
Upupa, while Edwards a few years after figrued its head 
(Gleanings, pi. 264) as that of the "Hoopoe Hen," having received 
it from Surinam under the name of JFiddehop (Hoopoe), and thus 
Linnaeus was originally induced to follow their example, though 
finally he referred it to the genus Fipra (Manakin) ; but in the 
meanwhile Brisson, who first gave a good description and figui'e of 
it, made it in 1760 the representative of a new genus FMpkola. In 
1769 Vosmaer again figm-ed it, expressing his surprise that the 



Dutch authors, who had described so many beautiful creatures from 
their possessions in South America, had never mentioned this 
remarkable bird. It has now for many years been recognized as 
Rupicola crocea, the type of the genus, and is common enough in 
museums, Avhere its almost wholly orange-coloured plumage, as Avell 
as its disk-like crest, render it conspicuous. It inhabits Guiana, 
and the lower countries of the Amazons ; but further to the west- 
ward it is replaced by the more deeply-tinted B. peruviana, and a 
third species, the blood-red B. sanguinolenta occupies still higher 
elevations in Ecuador. The genus is now generally placed in the 
Family Cotingidai (Chatterer), though Garrod, on account of 
certain diflferences in the formation of the crural arteries, which 
seem to be of no great taxonomic value (see Introduction), had 
separated it from them ; but it may well be regarded, as by Mr. 
_^ Sclater {Cat. B. Br. Mus. xiv. p. 366) as form- 
, ;'' ^^"^ ing a distinct subfamily, Bupicolinx, the only 
' j3 question being whether it is not as much 
allied to the Bipridm. Next to Bupicola he 
places Bhcenicocercus, containing two species, 
B. carnifex from Guiana and the lower Amazons, 
and B. nigricollis from the upper portion of the 
same valley. Each of these genera exhibits a 
curious modification of the primary quills, 
which in both the Families just named are 
subject to so much abnormality. In the males 
of Bhcenicocercus the fourth quill is much 
shortened, and terminates in a thickened horny process, while 
in Bupicola the first quill is suddenly attenuated towards the tip. 

COCK-OF-THE-AVOOD, see Capercally. 

(After Swainson.) 

CODDY-MODDY (etymology unknown), a local name of con- 
siderable antiquity, and still in use for the Black-headed Gull 
(Larus ridihmdus). 

GOLDFINCH, a name for which no explanation can be offered, 
unless it may have been intended for Coalfinch, but used so long 
ago as Willughby's time for the Pied Flycatcher. 

COLIN, the Mexican word ^ which practically signifies QuAlL, 
though the Quails of the New AVorld have long l)een hold to form 
a group distinct from any of those of the Old. The name seems to 
have been first printed in 1635 by Nieremlicrg {Hist. Nat. p. 232, 
cap. Ixxii.) ; but he says he took it from Hernandez, whoso work 
was not published until 1651, where it duly occurs {Hist. Anim. 
Nov. Hispan. p. 22, cap. xxxix.). Willughby {Oniilhol. Lat. p. 304, 

^ The French Colin, an okl nirk-nanu; fur a Gri.i., gi\eu in 1555 by Bclon 
(Ois. [h 167), has no connexion witli tlio i\K'xiruu woid. 


Angl. p. 393) quoted from both, and thus the word came into 
English use, even to finding its way into an Act of Parliament 
(43 and 44 Vid. cap. 35). In the Mexican language it was variously 
compounded, as Ococolin (Mountain-Partridge), Acolin (Water- Quail), 
and Cacacolin (cf. Hernandez, op. cit. pp. 32, 42). These have not 
all been determined ; but it is generally agreed that Colin alone 
meant some species of the genus Ortyx. 

COLO UB, as perceived in the various parts of Birds, is produced 
by pigment or by structure or by a combination of the two. Three 
classes of colours can therefore be distinguished. 

I. The so-called chemical or ahsorption colours are always due to 
colouring matter, which may exist in the form of a solution dif- 
fused in the coloured parts, or in the form of pigmented corpuscles, 
distributed in and between the cells of the various organs. Such 
colours do not vary or change under any position of the light or 
eye; and even under transmitted light a red, yellow, brown, or 
black feather will always appear the same. Black, red, and brown 
always belong hereto, orange and yellow mostly, but rarely green, 
and never blue. 

The principal colour pigments are : — 

Zoomelanin, the black animal colouring matter, distributed in 
amorphous little corpuscles, insoluble in Water, Alcohol, Acids, 
or Ether, but dissolved and destroyed when boiled in Caustic 
Potash and then treated with Chlor ; it consists of about 53*5% 
of Carbon, 4 '6 of Hydrogen, 8*2 of Nitrogen, and 33*7 of Oxygen. 

Zoonerythrin, red, hitherto found in the red feathers of Cotinga, 
Phoenicopterus, Ibis, Cacatua, Cardinalis, and others, and in the 
"rose" round the eyes of the Tetraonid^. It is soluble in Ether, 
Alcohol, and Chloroform, but not in Acids or in Potash ; the variable 
amount of fat or oil in the feathers of the Flamingo causes them 
to be more or less intensely coloured. 

Zooxanthin, yellow, can be extracted by boiling in absolute 
Alcohol, and is a diffused pigment which tinges the shafts, rami, 
and radii of the feathers, and is possibly the same in the yellow 
feet and bills of Birds -of -Prey and Anseres. Like Zoonerythrin 
it is a coloui'ed fatty oil. 

Turacin is a most peculiar pigment, discovered by Church in 1867 
{Phil. Trans. 1869, pp. 627-636) in the red feathers of the Muso- 
phagidse, and seems to be restricted to these birds. It consists of the 
same elements as Zoomelanin with the addition of from 5 to 8% of 
copper. It can easily be extracted by weak alkaline solutions, such as 
Ammonia, and with the addition of Acetic Acid, it can be filtered off 
as a metallic red or blue powder. The presence of metallic copper 
is indicated by the green flame of the red feathers when burnt. 
These birds lose the red colour when washed by the rain, but regain 


it when dry. When bathing they colour the water red, and the 
red feathers, when wet, are distinctly shot with blue. 

Turacoverdin is the only instance of a green pigment, and is only 
found in the Musophagidae ; it contains comparatively much iron, 
but no copper. 

Broivn is the result of a mixture of red and black colouring 

White is never due to pigment ; in every white object its colour 
is due to there being an innumerable number of interstices between 
its molecules, or the air-cells in its substance. The whole substance 
of a white feather, the " ceratine," is colourless, but its texture forms 
a fine network which diffracts and reflects the light. 

The gloss of feathers, independent of the colour itself, is the 
result of their horny surface being smooth and polished, when 
rough they appear more or less dull. 

II.~ Objective structural colours are those which are produced by 
the combination of a certain pigment with a special structure of 
the superimposed colom"less parts. Hereto always belong violet 
and blue, green almost always, and occasionally yellow. Such a 
feather, when examined under transmitted light, i.e. held against 
the light, appears only in the colour of its pigment. For instance, 
the deep blue or green feathers of a Parrot mil then apjDear only 
grey or yellowish. The same happens when their polished surface 
is scratched or crushed, the blue colour instantly disappears, shew- 
ing only the blackish underlying pigment, or yellow pigment in 
green feathers. "\Vhen thoroughly wetted in a bath, the feathers 
of the back of an Amazon Parrot appear brown without a trace of 

Microscopical examination of such colours reveals the following 
structures : — 

Yellow. The radii and rami of many yellow feathers are in 
reality A^dthout pigment, but their surface shews a number of 
longitudinal ridges and furrows, as for instance in Ara, Ehamphas- 
tus, Ccereba, Icterus, Xanthomelas, and Picus. Some of the radii of 
the yellow fluffy pectoral tufts of Arachnothera have a diameter of 
0"007 mm.; their surface exhibits irregular ridges, separated by as 
many furrows ; the Avidth of one ridge is less than 0'0007 mm., 
and the distance from ridge to ridge about 0*002, so that the theorj'' 
of colours of a system of narrow gratings can well be aj^plied to 
explain these colours. 

Orange is occasionally produced by red pigment with a yellow 

Green, except in the case of the Musophagidse mentioned above, 
is always due to yellow, orange, or greyish-brown pigment Anth a 
special superstructure, which consists either of narrow longit\ulinal 
ridges, as in Psittacula and in Pitta, or else, as in Chrysotis, Pitta, 


and Megaloprepia, the surface of the rami and radii is smooth 
and quite transparent, while between it and the pigment exists a 
layer of small polygonal bodies, similar to those of blue feathers. 

Blue has not yet been discovered as a pigment. Blue feathers 
contain only orange or brownish pigment ; the blue appears only 
on the shafts of the rami and larger radii. The structure of blue 
feathers seems to be always the same : (1) a transparent, colour- 
less layer of ceratine, from 0'004 to 0*007 mm. in thickness; (2) 
a layer of polygonal, more or less pyramidal, and often hexagonal 
columnar cells, each of which is colourless itself, and its walls are 
highly refractory and not unfrequently striated and ridged ; ^ (3) 
the horny narrow cells of the inside of the radius, with brown, 
black, or orange pigment corpuscles. 

The blue naked parts of the skin of Cassowaries contain yellow 
or black pigment covered by peculiarly modified epidermal layers. 

III. Subjective, structural, prismatic, or metallic colours. — These 
colours change according to the position of the light and the eye 
of the observer, and they always change in the order of those in the 
rainbow. They are restricted, as a rule, to the radii without cilia, 
and moreover to those parts of the feathers which are not covered by 
others. The metallic portions of the radii are composed of one row 
of compartments, which often partly overlap each other like curved 
tiles. In the inside black or blackish-bro\^'n pigment is collected ; 
and each compartment is covered with a transparent colourless layer 
of extreme thinness, e.g. 0"0008 mm. in Sturnus. The surface of 
this coat is either smooth and polished as in Nectarinia, or exhibits 
very fine longitudinal wavy ridges when the feather is _ violet, or 
numerous small dot-like irregularities as in Galbula. The coating 
seems to act like a number of prisms, as indicated in the first 
figure. All metallic feathers appear black when their surface is 
parallel to the rays of the light in the same level Avith the eye and 
the light. To the eye of the observer at A, in the lower part of 
the first figure, the metallic collar of Ptilorhis magnifica will 
appear absolutely black ; the eye at B will see it bright coppery 
red, and at C rich green ; the metallic feathers of the sides of the 
breast in the same bird will change from black to green at B, and 
to blue at C. The beautiful Pharomacrus mocinno changes from 
greenish bronze through golden green, green, and indigo to violet. 
Oreotrochilus chimborazo in position B exhibits the whole solar 
spectrum, namely, violet and red on the head, followed by orange 
and green on the back, blue, violet, and lastly purple on the 

■^ In Pitta moluccensis I calculated the following measurements : width of 
one polygon 0-001 mm., height of same 0'015 mm., thickness of its transparent 
coating about 0*0012 ; distance between two of the longitudinal ridges on the 
surface of the polygon Q-QOOo, thickness of the transparent outer layer of the 
radius about 0-005 mm. 


long tail feathers. The red colours of the spectrum lie nearer 
towards the position A, the blue colours towards C. The colours 
always appear in the same order : no feathers are known, which 

Positions for observing the Colour of "Metallic" Feathers. 
(Prom the Proceedings of the Zoological Society, 1882.) 

when looked at from B towards A, change from the red towards 
the blue end of the spectrum. In case two or more of these spectra 
(of which we imagine the horny coating to be composed) overlap each 
other, only a limited number of colours are able to reach the eye 
of the observer. Thus in the theoretical case figured red only "\rill 
be visible besides black. 

A peculiar case is that of Artamia bicolor; the pure white feathers 

Diagrammatic Section throcqh the Barb of a "Metallic" Feather. 
(From the Proceedings of the Zoological Society, 1882.) 


of the underparts have no metallic gloss, but nevertheless they seem 
to be prismatic, because in position A the underparts appear bluish- 
white, in B delicately pale blue, and in position C pale grey. 

Deviation from the normal coloration is more or less patho- 


logical, and can be conveniently expressed by the term Heterochrosis 
(from the Greek eVc/Do? and XP^^'-'^' colouring). The following are 
the chief cases : — 

Albinism, caused by the pathological absence of the black pig- 
ment, and often locally produced by a lesion of the pulp of the 
growing feather ; extreme instances are white Ravens and Black- 

Melanism, produced by the superabundance of black pigment, 
mostly causing the feathers to assume a darker or more sooty colour. 
Melanistic specimens have been described of many birds, such as 
Bullfinch, Skylark, and in particular of the common Snipe, which 
in this phase has by some been regarded as a distinct species, 
Scolopax sabinii. 

Xaiithochroism, mostly in originally red or orange feathers ; when 
the feathers are yellow instead of green, this may possibly be a 
reversional step or a case of arrested development because of the 
absence of the green-making superstructure. 

Erythrism, the abnormal occurrence of red, mostly confined to 
originally yellow or orange feathers, occasionally produced by 
abnormal food, like cayenne pepper, or directly by the colouring 
matter of Ruhia tindoria, one of the madder -worts. A certain 
correlation between green and red is exhibited by the intensely 
green adult males of Eclectus polychlorus, the females being bright 
red and the young of both sexes being reddish, without any 
indication of green in the young male. 

In Brazil " contrafeitos" of the various species of Chrysotis are 
fashionable. These are produced by the rubbing in of the cutaneous 
secretion of a Toad, Bufo tindorius, into the budding feathers of 
the head, which then turn out yellow instead of green. 

Concerning the literature of Albinism and Melanism the reader 
may consult Toppan, Bull. Ridgway Club, 1887, pp. 61-77, and 
Deane, Bull, mdtall Orn. Club, 1876, pp. 20-24; "Xanthochroism" 
in Parrots : Meyer, Sitzber. k. Ahad. JVissensch. Berlin, 1882, pp. 
517-524; and a general account by Pelzeln in Verhandl. zool.-bot. 
Gesellsdi. Wien, 1865, pp. 911-946. For further information con- 
cerning colours see (Bronn's) Klassen und Ordn. des Thier-Reichs, 
Fogel, pp. 575-588, and P. Z. S. 1882, pp. 409-421, pis. 27, 28. 

The distribution of colour in the feathers and the colour-jjattern 
of the plumage require some notice. 

It is a hitherto unsettled question if the longitudinally striated 
or the crossbarred feathers are the older style of coloration. 
The general impression of the coloration of a bird is the sum 
total of the coloration of all the uncovered parts of the feathers. 
This sounds like a truism, but means that crossbarred feathers 
can never give the general impression of a striated plumage and vice 
versd. Kerschner believes {Zcitsdir. wiss. Zool. 1886, p. 681) that 


the distribution of colouring matter in transverse lines or bars is the 
phylogenetically older method, because natural and sexual selection 
cannot well have affected the hidden parts of the feathers. On 
the other hand, the striated downy or first plumage of the Gallinge 
and Ratitse has been already, by Darwin, taken to be a very old 
stage. This appearance, however, as in Struthio, is not due to 
striation of the single feathers, but to juxtaposition of colourless 
and deeply pigmented downs. To judge from the growth of a 
feather, the production of crossbars seems to be the older stage, 
since they will result from the intermittent deposition of pigment, 
while, on the other hand, the production of shaft-streaks is not yet 
satisfactorily explained. At any rate, it must be borne in mind 
that possibly various groups of birds have gone independently 
through such stages, and that what is primitive or archaic in one 
need not be so in all. But a strong proof of the soundness of 
Darwin's views is that we are able to trace the pattern of the most 
beautifully-adorned feathers of the Argus-Pheasant or of the Peacock 
step by step backwards to longitudinal stripes, spots, crossbars, and 
lastly to insignificant and simple irregular little dots. 

Natural and sexual selection, whether combining or striving 
against each other, have worked marvels in plumage. Significant 
colours, as for instance total blackness or whiteness, could be 
developed only when higher intellectual qualities, bodily size and 
strength, or occasionally even special smallness, guaranteed the 
safety of the bird. The females and the young mostly retain a 
more sombre garb, and thus remain on a phylogenetically lower 
level. It takes the large Gulls several years to change from a 
mottled brownish and grey appearance into the beautifully dark 
and white colours. The same applies to the white shoulders of 
certain Eagles ; and many other instances, too well known to be 
repeated here, shew clearly how the changes of bygone ages of the 
ancestors are recapitulated in the yearly moult of the growing 
individual until ^vith maturity its present stage of perfection is 
reached — but only its present stage, because its descendants in turn 
will be different, either still more beautiful or still better adapted 
to the ever-changing conditions of life. This consideration implies 
that whole-coloured birds, like Swans and Ravens, have reached their 
limit so far as coloration is concerned ; since both black and white 
are very conspicuous and are correlated with a considerable amount 
of intellectual development. The very early assumption of the 
black plumage by the nestlings of Eavens and Crows is a strong 
argument for their relatively highest position on the hypothetical 
avine tree. Albinos are notoriously shy. The females of birds 
which breed in holes, as Rollers, Kingfishers, and Parrots, are fre- 
(]uently as beautifully coloured as the males, because they need 
no protection through colour while sitting on the nest. In the 


green Amazons beauty, intelligence, and safety by protection are 
combined. The often surprising adajDtation of the coloration of the 
plumage to the surroundings is well knoAvn. Frequently the con- 
spicuously coloured parts are hidden when the bird is at rest, and 
are only exposed or shewn — occasionally as " danger signals," to 
use Mr. Wallace's excellent term — when the bird is on the wing. 
It cannot be doubted that the sense of colour is highly developed 
in birds, perhaps most so in the female when choosing a mate ; 
the result of this sexual selection being constantly regulated by 
natural selection is exhibited most by the male, but enjoyed by both 
sexes, and for the benefit of the whole race. 

COLY, Pennant's rendering of the French Coliou, adapted 
by Brisson from Mohring's Colius ; which, according to Cuvier, is 
the Greek koXolo^ (see Mouse-bird). 

CONDOR, the Spanish way of writing the Peruvian Cunkir, the 
Vnltiir gryphus of Linnseus and Sarcorhamphus gryphus of recent 
authors, one of the largest of volant birds. The accounts given by 
early travellers of its size and ferocity were so obviously exagger- 
ated that the cautious Ray would not admit it into Willughby's 
Ornithology, and only included it in his own Synopsis Avium (p. 11) 
after proof that such a bird existed had reached him in the shape 
of one of its wing-quills brought by Capt. Strong to Sir Hans 
Sloane from the coast of Chili. Nearly a century passed before 
European ornithologists saw a complete specimen. This was a 
female which CajDt. Middleton brought from the Strait of 
Magellan and deposited in the Leverian Museum, where it was 
figm^ed in 1791 by Shaw (Mus. Lev. No. 1, p. 4, pi.) Shortly 
after, a second specimen, this time an adult male, found its way 
from the same quarter to the same Museum, and was also figured 
in 1793 by the same author (op. cit. No. 6, p. 4, pl.)-*^ But the 
species was little known on the continent, until in 1806 when 
Humboldt communicated his classical MSmoire on the bird to the 
French Institute, and as he was certainly the first scientific man 
who had made its personal acquaintance in life,^ his account of it 
deserves the attention with which it has met, and the voracity, 
stupidity, and tenacity of life of this huge Vulture have through 
him been long known to the world. Its habits have perhaps been 
since more fully described by Darmn in his Journal, though that 
account of them seems to have been unknown to the latest A\Titer 
on the subject, Taczanowski (OrnitJwl. Fdroii, i. pp. 75-80), who 
quotes only from D'Orbigny and Stolzmann. Yet a good many 

^ Both these specimens passed into the Museum of Vienna, where they are 
now preserved (Von Pelzeln, Ibis, 1873, p. 16). 

" As Broderip well remarks Molina can hardly have seen the bird, which he, 
like Buffon, took to be the same as the Lammergeier. 


years passed before examples became at all common in museums, 
and Temminck writing in 1823 {Rec. cVOis. \yvy. 23) was only able to 
refer to a single one at Paris, beside the two originally received in 
England. Seven years afterwards he figured a male which was 
alive at Paris, and says there was another in Holland. But at or 
about the same time the species was exhibited in London (Bennett, 
Gard. and Menag. Zool. Soc. ii." p. 8), Avhere it has even bred, though 
the only young bird that, after an incubation lasting from 7th May 
to 30th June 1846, or 54 days, was hatched lived but six weeks 
(Broderip, Leaves from the Note-Book of a Naturalist, pj). 14-16). 
The male Condor is remarkable among birds 
for the large caruncle which crowns his head, 
like an exaggerated cock's comb, and falling 
down on the culmen of the back often leaves an 
open space in front of the base. This and his 
CoNDOB. ijg^j^Q head and neck of a dull reddish colour, 

(After Swainson.) •iii-, r -i -i • i ■ 

wrinkled mto many folds, give him a very pecu- 
liar expression, and the hard dry appearance of the latter contrasts 
Avith the ruff of white down that separates it from the glossy black of 
the rest of the plumage, except the edges of the Aving-coverts and the 
secondary wing-quills which are white. The range of the Condor 
extends from near the mouth of the Rio Negro on the east coast of 
Patagonia, through the Strait of Magellan and along the Cordilleras 
of the Andes to about lat. 8° N. It is possible that some of the 
older Spanish accounts usually taken to refer to the Condor Avere 
based upon the equally-large Yultui'e of North America, Cathartes 
or Pseudogryphiis californianus, a species which seems to be rapidly 
becoming extinct. -^^ 

CONIBOSTRES, the fourth Family of Passeres in Dumeril's 
arrangement (Zoologie analytique, p. 43), containing Starlings, 
Finches, and several other groups ; but, though admitted by him 
to be a wholly artificial assemblage, it is one that has been for a 
long while recognized by systematic Avriters. 

COOT, a Avell-knoAvn British Avater-foAvl, the Fulica afra of 
Linnteus, belonging to the Family Rallidai (Rail). The Avord Coot, 
in some parts of England pronounced Cute, or Scute, is of uncertain 
origin, but perhaps cognate Avith ScoUT and ScOTER — both names of 
aquatic birds — a possibility Avhich seems to be more likely since the 
name Macreuse, by Avhich tlie Coot is knoAvn in the south of France, 
being in the north of that country applied to the Scoter (CEdemia 
nigra) sheAvs that, though belonging to very different Families, there 
is in popular estimation some connexion betAveen the birds.^ The 

^ It is owing to this interchange of their names that Yarrell in his British 
Birds refers a description, assigned to Victor Hngo (wlio, I have the best 

COOT 103 

Latin Fulica (in polite IFrench, Foulque) is probably allied to fuligo, 
and has reference to the bird's dark colour. •*■ The Coot breeds 
abundantly in many of the larger inland waters of the northern 
parts of the Old World, in winter commonly resorting, and often 
in great numbers, to the mouth of rivers or shallow bays of the 
sea, Adhere it becomes a general object of pursuit by gunners 
whether for sport or gain. At other times of the year it is 
comparatively unmolested, and being very prolific its abundance is 
easily understood. The nest is a large mass of flags, reeds, or 
sedge, piled together among rushes in the water or on the margin, 
and not unfrequently contains as many as ten eggs. The young, 
when first hatched, are beautiful little creatures, clothed in jet- 
black down, with their heads of a bright orange- scarlet, varied with 
purplish-blue. This brilliant colouring is soon lost, and they begin 
to assume the almost uniform sooty -black plumage which is worn 
for the rest of their life ; but a characteristic of the adult is a bare 
patch or callosity on the 
forehead, which being 
nearly white gives rise 
to the epithet "bald" 
often prefixed to the 
bird's name. The Coot ^°°"- (^"^^ swainson.) 

is about 18 inches in length, and -will sometimes weigh over 
2 lb. Though its wings appear to be short in proportion to its 
size, and it seems to rise with difficulty from the watei-, it is 
capable of long-sustained and rather rapid flight, which is performed 
with the legs stretched out behind the stumpy tail. It swims 
buoyantly, and looks a much larger bird in the water than it really 
is. It dives with ease, and when wounded is said frequently to 
clutch the weeds at the bottom with a grasp so firm as not even to 
be loosened by death. It does not often come on dry land, but 
when there, marches leisurely and not without a certain degree of 
grace. The feet of the Coot are very remarkable, the toes being- 
fringed by a lobed membrane, which must be of considerable assist- 
ance in swimming as well as in walking over the ooze — acting as 
they do like mud-boards. 

In England the sport of Coot-shooting is pursued to some extent 
on the broads and back-Avaters of the eastern counties, and in 
Southampton Water, Christchurch Bay, and at Slapton Lay, and is 
often conducted battue-fashion by a number of guns. But even in 
these cases the numbers killed in a day seldom reach more than a 
few hundreds, and come very short of those that fall in the officially- 

authority for stating, never wrote it), of the " chasse aiix Macreiises " to the 
Scoter instead of the Coot. 

■^ Hence also we have Fulix or FuUgula applied to a Duck of dingy appear- 
ance, and thus forming another parallel case. 


organized chasses of the lakes near the coast of Languedoc and Pro- 
vence, of which an excellent description is given by the Vicomte 
Louis de Dax.^ The flesh of the Coot is very variously regarded as 
food. To prepare the bird for the table, the feathers should be 
stripped, and the down, which is very close, thick, and hard to 
pluck, be rubbed with powdered resin ; the body is then to be 
dipped in boiling water, which melting the resin causes it to mix 
with the down, and then both can be removed together with 
tolerable ease. After this the bird should be left to soak for the 
night in cold spring- water, which will make it look as white and 
delicate as a chicken. Without this process the skin after roasting 
is found to be very oily, with a fishy flavour, and if the skin be 
taken off the flesh becomes dry and good for nothing (Hawker's 
Instructions to Young Sportsmen ; Hele's Notes about Aldehurgh). 

The Coot is found throughout the Palsearctic area from Iceland 
to Japan, and in most other parts of the world is represented by 
nearly allied species, having almost the same habits. An African 
species {F. cristata), easily distinguished by a red caruncle on its 
forehead, is of rare appearance in the south of Europe. The 
Australian and North American species {F. australis and F. ameri- 
cana) have very great resemblance to our own bird ; but in South 
America half a dozen or more additional species are found which 
range to Patagonia, and vary much in size, one {F. glgantea) being 
of considerable magnitude. The remains of another large species 
have been described by Prof. A. Milne-Edwards {Ann. Sc. Nat. ser. 
5, Zool. viii. pp. 194-220, pis. 10-13) from Mauritius, where it must 
have been a contemporary of the Dodo, but like that bird is now 

COPPERSMITH, see Barbet. 

COBACOID (named after the coracoid process on the human 
shoulder-blade, which was likened in shape by mediaeval anatomists 
to a Raven's bill) one of a pair of strong bones which connect the 
anterior or basal margin of the sternum vnXh. the scapula and 
clavicle, and form the chief articulation of the humerus with the 
shoulder-girdle (see Skeleton). 

CORACOMORPH^, Prof. Huxley's name for the large gi^oup 
of Desmognathous birds — incomparably the largest of those that 
now exist, and for the most part equivalent to the Passeres of 
Linnaeus and Cuvier, and wholly to the VoLUCRES of Sundevall 
{Proc. Zool. Sac. 1867, pp. 468-472). (See Introduction.) 

CORMORANT 2 — from the Latin corvus marinus, through the 

^ "La Voleo aux Macreuses." Nouveaux Souvenirs de Chasse et de la PCche 
dans le onidi de la France, pp. 53-65. Paris : 18G0. 

^ Some authors, following Cains, derive the word from corvus vorans and 
spell it Corvorant, but doubtless wrongly. 




French (in some patois, of which it is still " cor marin," and in 
certain Italian dialects "corvo marin" or "corvo marine") — a 
large sea-fowl belonging to the genus Phalacrocorax ^ {Carlo, Halieus, 
and Graculus of some ornithologists), and that group of the Linneean 
Order Anseres, now pretty generally recognized by Illiger's term 
Steganopodes, of which it with its allies forms a Family Phalacro- 

The Cormorant, P. carho, frequents almost all the sea-coast of 
Europe, and breeds in societies at various stations most generally 
on steep cliffs, but occasionally 
on rocky islands as well as on 
trees. The nest consists of a 
large mass of sea,weed, and, 
with the ground immediately 
surrounding it, generally looks 

as though bespattered with Cormorant. (After Svvainson.) 

whitewash, from the excrement 

of the bird, which lives entirely on fish. The eggs, from four to six 
in number, are small, and have a thick, soft, calcareous shell, bluish- 
white when first laid, but soon becoming discoloured. The young 
are hatched blind, and covered with an inky -black skin. They 
remain for some time in the squab-condition, and are then highly 
esteemed for food by the northern islanders, their flesh being said 
to taste as Avell as a roasted hare's. Their first jDlumage is of a 
sombre brownish -black above, and more or less white beneath. 
They take two or three years to assume the fully adult dress, 
which is deep black, glossed above with bronze, and varied in 
the breeding-season with white on the cheeks and flanks, besides 
being adorned by filamentary feathers on the head, and further 
set off by a bright yellow gape. The old Cormorant looks as big 
as a Goose, but is really much smaller : its flesh is quite uneatable. 
Taken when young from the nest, this bird is easily tamed, 
and can be trained to fish for its keeper, as was of old time com- 
monly done in England, where the Master of the Cormoi^ants was 
one of the officers of the royal household. Nowadays the practice 
is nearly disused, though a few gentlemen still follow it for their 
diversion. When taken out to furnish sport, a strap is fastened 
round the bird's neck so as, Avithout impeding its breath, to hinder 
it from swallowing its captures.^ Arrived at the waterside, it is 
cast off. It at once dives and darts along the bottom as swiftly as 

^ So spelt since the days of Gesner ; but possibly PJialarocorax would be more 

^ It was formerly the custom, as we learn from Willughbj', to carry the 
Cormorant hooded till its services were required, by which means it was kept 
quiet. At the present time its bearer wears a wire-mask to protect his eyes and 
face from the bird's beak. 


an arrow in quest of its prey, rapidly scanning every hole or pool. 
A fish is generally seized within a few seconds of its being sighted, 
and as each is taken the bird rises to the surface with its capture 
in its bill. It does not take much longer to dispose of the prize in 
the dilatable skin of its throat so far as the strap will allow, and 
the pursuit is recommenced until the bird's gular pouch, capacious 
as it is, will hold no more. It then returns to its keeper, who has 
been anxiously watching and encouraging its movements, and a 
little manipulation of its neck effects the delivery of the booty. It 
may then be let loose again, or, if considered to have done its work, 
it is fed and restored to its perch. The activity the bird displays 
under water is almost incredible to those who have not seen its 
performances, and in a shallow river scarcely a fish escapes its keen 
eyes and sudden turns, except by taking refuge under a stone or 
root, or in the mud that may be stirred up during the operation, 
and so avoiding observation.^ 

Nearly allied to the Cormorant, and having much the same 
habits, is the Shag, or Green Cormorant of some writers, P. graculus. 
The Shag (which name in many parts of the world is used in 
a generic sense) is, however, about one -fourth smaller in linear 
dimensions, is much more glossy in plumage, and its nuptial 
embellishment is a nodding plume instead of the white patches of 
the Cormorant. The easiest diagnostic on examination will be 
found to be the number of tail-feathers, which in the former are 
fourteen and in the Shag twelve. The latter, too, is more marine 
in the localities it frequents, seldom entering fresh or indeed inland 

In the south of Europe a still smaller species, P. fijgmsens, is 
found. This is almost entirely a fresh -water bird, and is not 
uncommon on the lower Danube. Other species, to the number 
perhaps of thirty or more, have been discriminated from other parts 
of the world, but all have a great general similarity to one another. 
A large and very richly -coloured species, P. perspicillatus, which 
formerly frequented Bering Island off the coast of Kamchatka, was 
in 1882 ascertained by Dr. Stejneger to have been extirpated some 
thirty years before {Proc. U. S. Nat. Miis. 1883, p. 65). A specimen 
now in the British Museum was figured by Gould {Voy. 'Sulphur,' 
pi. 32) and two others (in the Museums of Leyden and St. Peters- 
burg respectively), with a few bones, brought to Washington by 
Dr. Stejneger, are all the remains of it known to exist. New 
Zealand and the west coast of Northern America are particularly 
rich in birds of this genus, and the species found there are the 
most beautifully decorated of any. All, however, are remarkable 
for their curiously -formed feet, the four toes of each being con- 

^ See Capt. Salvin's chapters on "Fishing with Cormorants," appended to 
his and Mr. Freeman's Falconry (Loudon : 1859). 


nected by a web, for their long stiff tails, and for the absence, in 
the adult, of any exterior nostrils. AVhen gorged, or when the 
state of the tide precludes fishing, they are fond of sitting on an 
elevated perch, often with extended wings, and in this attitude 
they will remain motionless for a considerable time, as though 
hanging themselves out to dry, but hardly, as the fishermen report, 
sleeping the while. It was perhaps this peculiarity that struck the 
observation of Milton, and prompted his well-known similitude of 
Satan to a Cormorant {Par ad. Lost, iv. 194); but when not thus 
behaving they themselves provoke the more homely comparison of 
a row of black bottles. Their voracity is proverbial. 

CORKIRA, a bird so named and described by Aldrovandus, as 
occurring in Italy ; but never, so far as is known, seen since, 
and ap]3arently fictitious. 

COTINGA, see Chatterer. 

COUCAL, Levaillant's name, compounded, says Cuvier {Bkjne 
Anim. p. 425, note), of cmicou and aloiietfe, adopted by several 
English ornithologists, 1 and especially by Gould (Ilandb. B. Austral. 
i. pp. 634, 636), as the equivalent of Illiger's Centropus, a widely 
spread group of Cumlidai (Cuckow), chiefly of terrestrial habit, 
and having the hallux terminated by a straight spine-like claw, 
whence the name and that of " Lark-heeled " Cuckows applied to 
them absurdly by some writers. The Coucals may be taken to 
form a very distinct subfamily, Centropodina}, and have been divided 
into half-a-dozen genera or more. They inhabit almost all parts of 
the Ethiopian Region from Egypt to the Cape Colony, as well as 
Madagascar : one species occurs in India, where it is known as the 
" Crow-Pheasant," and others range to the eastward as far as China 
and throughout the Archipelago to jSTeAv Guinea and Australia. 
They build their own nests, and lay eggs with Avhite, chalky shell. 

COULTERNEB, a common name of the Puffin, from the 
likeness of its bill to the coulter of a plough. 

COURSER, apparently LeAvin's rendering {B. Gr. Brit. vi. 
p. 48) of Latham's word Ctirsorius, a genus established by him in 
1790 for the Coure-vUe of BufFon {H. N. Ois. viii. 
p. 128), who had already seen that, though allied 
to the Plovers, it required separation. It was first 
known fi-om an example taken in France (whence cuksorius. 

Gmelin called it Charadrius gallicus), and Buff"on in ^^f*"' Swainson.) 
1781 had seen only one other, though that was from Coromandel and 
was of a distinct species. The third specimen, which was of the 

^ Mr. Sharpe [B. S. Jfr. ed. 2, p. 161, pi. v. fig. 1), however, has bestowed 
the name on a species, Ccuthmockcres austj^alis {P. Z. S. 1873, p. 609), which 
apparently does not possess the Lark-like claw whence the name is derived. 


same species as the first, was killed in Kent, not later, according to 
Mr. Saunders (Yarrell, Br. B. ed. 4, iii. p. 239), than 1785, and is now 
in the British Museum. The Coursers form a small group of some 
nine or ten species, belonging to the Charadriidx (Plover), but differ- 
ing from all except the PRATINCOLES by their thick and decurved bill. 
One species is peculiar to the Indian Region, the rest belong to the 
Ethiopian, though that which accidentally visits Europe breeds in 
Mauritania and the Canary Islands, as well as in India. 

COW-BIRD, in England the yellow Wagtail, Motacilla raii; 
but in North America the name applied to two very distinct 
birds. First to one of the CucKOWS (Coccyzus carolinenis), next and 
far more commonly as an abbreviation of Cowpen-bird, according to 
Catesby (N. H. Carolina, i. p. 34), who says : — "They delight much 
to feed in the pens of cattle, which has given them their name," to 
a species which is also spoken of as Cow-Blackbird, Cow-Bunting, 
and Cow-Troopial, and is the Molohrus j^ecoris,^ one of the Ideridss,' 
and particular interest attaches to it from its parasitic habits, first 
recorded in 1810 by Alexander Wilson (Amer. Orn. ii. pp. 145- 
160), though, as he was careful to say, they had "long been known 
to people of observation resident in the country," and indeed he 
cites an instructive series of observations by Dr. Potter of Balti- 
more, shewing that that gentleman had for some time made the 
bird his study. The species which are the victims of the Cow- 
bird's intruding its eggs into their nests are hardly less numerous 
than the dupes of our own Cuckow, but no one seems to have 
mtnessed the actual displacement of their rightful owner's progeny. 
Further particulars, which it would be impossible to reproduce 
here, may be found in the works of Nuttall and Audubon, as well 
as in the North American Birds of Messrs. Baird, Brewer, and Ridg- 
way, besides Dr. Coues's Birds of the North-TFest (pp. 181-185). In 
the South American species of Molohrus, Mr. W. H. Hudson, whose 
remarks (Argent. Ornithol. i. pp. 72-97) upon them deserve the best 
attention, has observed that the old Cow-birds, both male and 
female, destroy many of the eggs in the nests Avhich they visit ; 
but extraordinary as it seems, one of the species, M. nifaxillaris, is 
parasitic upon another, M. badius, which makes a nest for itself, 
though he believes that this last Avill not foster the offspring of a 
third and eminently parasitical species, M. bonariensis. 

COWRY-BIRD, the Fingilla pundidati of Linnseus, the Amadim 
or Munia pundulata of modern writers. It Avas apparently first 
made known by Edwards {N. II. Birds, i. p. 40), Avho figured it 

1 The word was originally misprinted Molotlirus, and though Swainson (Faun. 
Bor.-Am. ii. p. 277) was at the pains to explain this moaning of it, "qui non 
vocatus alionas ajdes intrat," shewing that Molohrus must have been intended, 
the majority of writers prefer following the error. 


from an example which he was told had come from the East Indies, 
where it " was called a Gowry or Cowry Bird, they being sold for a 
small shell apiece, called a Gowry." It is a common cage-bird 
belonging to the Ploceidx (Weaver-BIRD), and is found throughout 
India, Ceylon, and Burma. 

CEAB-PLOVER, the Anglo-Indian name for a curious bird of 
wide range, frequenting the east coast of Africa from the Red Sea 
to Natal, as well as the northern and western shores of the Indian 
Ocean, the Bay of Bengal, and many of the intervening islands. 
It was described and figured by Paykull in 1805 {K. Vet.- Acad. N. 
Handl. xxvi. pp. 182-190, pi. viii.), from a specimen bought by 
him at Amsterdam, and said to have come from the East Indies, 
under the name of Dromas ardeola, which it has since generally 
borne. Several systematists have urged that it should be regarded 
as an aberrant form of Tern ; but there can be little doubt, 
especially after the researches of Van der Hoeven {N. Acta Acad. 
L.-C. Nat. Cur. xxxiii. ; French Transl. Arch. Merl. 1868, pp. 281- 
295), that it properly belongs to that polymorphic group of LiMi- 
COL^, which comprises the genera Hsematopus (Oyster-catcher), 
Hmantopus (Stilt), and Recurvirostra (Avoset) — the last of which it 
closely resembles in general coloration and in its webbed toes, while 
its bill is as hard and trenchant as in any member of the first, 
though of a diff'erent form. The possibility of its being with Chionis 
(Sheathbill) a surviving link between the Charadriidse and the 
Laridx is very great. For its habit of breeding in burrows in sand- 
hills, see Hume, Nests and Eggs of Indian Birds, ed. 2, iii. pp. 327-330. 

CRACKER, a name of the Pintail, Dajila acuta. 

CRAKE (Lat. Crex), generally with a prefix, as Corn-CRAKE, a 
common name of the Land-RAIL, and often used for others of the 
Rallidse, in which the bill is comparatively short. 

CRANE (in Dutch, Kraan ; Old German, Krsen ; cognate, as 
also the Latin Grus, and consequently the French Grue and Spanish 
Gi'tdla, with the Greek yepavos), the Grus communis or G. cinerea of 
ornithologists, one of the largest Wading-birds, and formerly a 
native of England, where Turner, in 1544, said that he had very 
often seen its young (" earum pipiones sxpissime vidi "). Notwith- 
standing the protection aflforded it by sundry Acts of Parliament, 
it has long since ceased from breeding in this country. Sir T. 
Browne (oh. 1682) speaks of it as being found in the open parts of 
Norfolk in winter. In Ray's time it was only known as occurring 
at the same season in large flocks in the fens of Lincolnshire and 
Cambridgeshire ; and though mention is made of Cranes' eggs and 
young in the fen-laws passed at a court held at Revesby in 1780, 
this was most likely but the fox^mal repetition of an older edict ; 


for in 1768 Pennant "wrote that after the strictest enquiry lie found 
the inhabitants of those counties to be wholly unacquainted with 
the bird, and hence concluded that it had forsaken our island. The 
Crane, however, no doubt then appeared in Britain, as it does now, 
at uncertain intervals and in unwonted places, shewing that the 
examples occurring here (which usually meet the hostile reception 
commonly accorded to strange visitors) have strayed from the 
migrating bands whose movements have been remarked from almost 
the earliest ages. Indeed, the Crane's aerial journeys are of a very 
extended kind ; and on its way from beyond the borders of the 
Tropic of Cancer to within the Arctic Circle, or on the return- 
voyage, its flocks may be descried passing overhead at a marvellous 
height, or halting for rest and refreshment on the Avide meadows 
that border some great river,^ while the seeming order with which 
its ranks are marshalled during flight has long attracted atten- 
tion. 'The Crane takes up its mnter-quarters under the burning 
sun of Central Africa and India, but early in spring returns north- 
ward. Not a few examples reach the chill polar soils of Lapland 
and Siberia, but some tarry in the south of Europe and breed in 
Spain, and, it is supposed, in Turkey. The greater number, how- 
ever, occupy the intermediate zone and pass the summer in Russia, 
North Germany, and Scandinavia. Soon after their arrival in these 
countries the flocks break up into pairs, whose nuptial ceremonies 
are accompanied by loud and frequent trumpetings, and the respec- 
tive breeding-places of each are chosen. 

The nest is formed with little art on the ground in large open 
marshes, where the herbage is not very high — a tolerably dry spot 
being selected and used apparently year after year. Here the eggs, 
which are of a rich brown colour with dark spots, and always two 
in number, are laid. The young are able to run soon after they 
are hatched, and are at first clothed with tawny down.^ In the 
course of the summer they assume nearly the same grey plumage 
that their parents wear, except that the elongated plumes, which 
in the adults form a graceful covei^ing of the hinder parts of 
the body, are comparatively undeveloped, and the clear black, 
white, and red (the last being due to a patch of papillose 
skin of that colour) of the head and neck are as yet indistinct. 
During this time they keep in the marshes, but as autumn 
approaches the different families unite by the rivers and lakes, and 
ultimately form the enormous bands which after much more 
trumpeting set out on their southward journey. 

^ A beautiful picture, representing a ilock of Cranes resting by the Ivhine, is 
to be seen in Mr. '\^'olf's Zoological Sketches. 

^ A i^aper "On the 15reeiiing of the Crane in Lapland" (Ibis, 1850, ]>p. 
191-198), by the late Mr. John Wolley, is one of the most pleasing contributions 
to Natural History ever written. 

CRANE 1 1 1 

The Crane's power of uttering the sonorous and peculiar 
trumpet-like notes, of which mention has been made, is commonly 
and perhaps correctly ascribed to the formation of its trachea, 
which on quitting the lower end of the neck passes backward 
between the branches of the furcula and is received into a hollow 
space formed by the bony walls of the carina or keel of the sternum. 
Herein it makes three turns, and then runs upwards and backwards 
to the lungs. The apparatus on the whole much resembles that 
found in the Whooping SwANS, Cygnus musicus, C. huecinator, and 
others, though differing in some not unimportant details ; but at 
the same time somewhat similar convolutions of the trachea occur 
in other birds which do not possess, so far as is known, the faculty 
of trumpeting. The Crane emits its notes both during flight and 
while on the ground. In the latter case the neck and bill are 
uplifted and the mouth kept open during the utterance of the blast, 
which may be often heard from birds in confinement, especially at 
the beginning of the year. 

As usually happens in similar cases, the name of the once 
familiar British species is now used in a general sense, and applied 
to all others which are allied to it. Though by many systematists 
placed near or even among the Herons, there is no doubt that the 
Cranes have only a superficial resemblance and no real affinity to 
the Ardeidse. In fact the Gruidx form a somewhat isolated group. 
Prof. Huxley has included them together with the Rallidse in his 
Geranomorph.^ ; but a more extended view of their various 
characters would probably assign them rather as relatives of the 
Bustards — not that it must be thought that the two Families 
have not been for a very long time distinct. Grus, indeed, is a 
very ancient form, its remains appearing in the Miocene of 
France and Greece, as well as in the Pliocene and Post-pliocene of 
North America. In France, too, during the "Reindeer Period" 
there existed a huge species — the G. prmigenia of M. Alphonse 
Milne-Edwards — which has doubtless been long extinct. At the 
present time Cranes inhabit all the great zoogeographical Regions 
of the earth, except New Zealand and the Neotropical, and some 
sixteen or seventeen species are discriminated. In Europe, besides 
the G. communis already mentioned, Ave have as an inhabitant that 
which is generally known as the Numidian Crane or Demoiselle. 
G. Virgo, distinguished from every other by its long white ear-tufts. 
This bird is also "widely distributed throughout Asia and Africa, 
and is said to have occurred in Orkney as a straggler. The eastern 
part of the Palsearctic area is inhabited by six other species that do 
not frequent Europe, G. antigone, G. viridirostris or japonensis, G. 
monachus, G. leucauchen, G. nigricollis, and G. leucogeranus, of which 
the last is perhaps the finest of the Family, with neai-ly the 
whole plumage of a snowy white. The Indian Region, besides 


being visited in winter by four of the species already named, 
has two that are peculiar to it, G. coUaris and G. antigone. The 
Australian Region possesses a large species known to the colonists 
as the " Native Companion," G. australasiana ; while the Nearctic 
area is tenanted by two species, G. americcma and G. canadensis, to 
say nothing of the possibility of a fourth, G. schlegeli, a little-known 
and somewhat obscure bird, finding its habitat here. In the 
Ethiopian Region we have two species, G. paradisea and G. carun- 
culata, which do not occur out of Africa, as well as two others 
forming the group known as " Crowned Cranes " — differing much 
from other members of the family, and justifiably placed in a 
separate genus, Balearica. One of these, B. pavonina, inhabits 
Northern and Western Africa, while the other, B. chri/sopelargus or 
regulorum, is confined to the eastern and southern parts of that 

CRANIUM (latinized from Kpaviov, a skull) anatomically 
applied to the bony and cartilaginous parts of the skull with- 
out the jaws and the palato-pterygo-quadrate bones, and therefore 
practically equivalent to those parts which enclose the cranial cavity 
and the three principal sense-organs (see Skeleton). 

CREEPER (Dutch Kndper, Swedish Krypare, Norsk Kryher), a 
term employed by ornithologists in a very vague sense, but chiefly 
to render Certhia as used by Linnaeus and his immediate successors, 
and thus including forms belonging to more perfectly distinct 
Families than can here be named ; for it was customary to thrust 
therein almost every outlandish Passerine bird which could not be 
conveniently assigned to any other of the then recognized genera, 
provided only that it had a somewhat attenuated and decurved bill. 
Taken by itself, " Creeper " signifies nothing in modern ornithology, 
and provincially it is very frequently used for the Nuthatch. 
With a prefix, as Tree- Creeper, it has a much more definite 
meaning, and in England is the Certhia familiaris of Linnaeus. 

CREST. Feathery crests need no fm^ther comment than 
that they seem to be entirely ornamental, favourite objects of sexual 
selection, and therefore mostly developed in the male sex ; they are 
generally erectile by the aid of cutaneous and subcutaneous muscles, 
notably by the musculus cucullaris. Horny crests, often supported 
by swollen cancellous outgrowths of the maxillary, nasal, and 
frontal bones (as in Hornbills and Cassowaries), have been de- 
scribed in connexion with the Bill. Very peculiar are the entirely 

1 An admirably succinct account of all the different species was communi- 
cated by the late Mr. Blyth to llie Field newspaper in 1873 (vol. xl. p. 631 ; vol. 
xli. pp. 7, 61, 136, 189, 248, 384, 408, 418), which has since been published in a 
separate form with additions by the editor, Mr. Tegctmeier, as The Natural 
History of the Cranes (London : 1881). 


horny, slender, and erectile outgrowths on the forehead of Pala- 
medea comuta ; and the similar erectile, long process of Chasmo- 
rhynchus, which is partly covered with very small feathers. The 
soft crest or comb of many Phasianidse consists, like the wattles of 
other birds, entirely of the bare skin, and, being very rich in nerves 
and blood-vessels, is, as swelling organs, erectile in a different sense. 
Prominent ridges of bones, serving then for the attachment of 
powerful muscles, are likewise called "crests," — for instance the 
crista sterni. 

CROCKER in England, according to Montagu, a name for the 
Black-headed Gull, Lams ridihundus ; but in North America (and 
perhaps also in some parts of Britain) used for the BRANT-Goose 
(Trumbull, Portr. and Names of Birds, j). 6). 

CROP, or ingluvies, the dilatation of the oesophagus before its 
entrance into the thorax. The walls of the crop seem to contain 
no other glands than the ordinary mucous glands of the oesophagus : 
the crop is used as a receptacle for the food, Avhich therein is 
softened and acted upon by water and the saliva and Avarmth of the 
bird. Between a narrow, temporarily -dilated oesophagus and a 
permanent crop-like dilatation many intermediate stages exist. A 
distinct sac -like crop is present in most seed -eating birds, as 
in the Gallinee, Columbse, Pteroclidae, in Opisthocomus, Thinocorys, 
Attagis, Psittaci, and, among the Passeres, many of the Fringillidge 
and the Drepanididae. The crop is less marked or only tem- 
porary in the Birds-of-Prey, the Cassowary, the Humming-birds, in 
Mormon, Pedionomus, ancl Panurus ; and is represented by a slight 
but permanent dilatation in the Cormorant, various Ducks and 
Storks, and in the Flamingo. It is absent in all other birds. It 
reaches its highest development in the Pigeons, consisting of a right 
and a left globular half which are united by an unpaired portion ; 
the inner Avails possess numerous irregular ridges, and sheAv during 
the breeding- season an extraordinary activity, the cells of the 
mucous membrane proliferating and peeling off as a cheesy matter, 
Avith which both sexes feed their nestlings for a considerable time. 

The most peculiarly constructed crop is that of Opisthocomus ; 
the oesophagus is much AA'idened and forms a long doubled loop, 
which rests upon the great pectoral muscles, and almost suppresses 
the anterior part of the keel of the breastbone. The AA^alls are 
extremely muscular, and are inside frurnished with numerous 
furrows and ridges, to enable the HoACTZiN to squeeze out the juicy 
leaves of the tree. Arum arborescens, upon AA^hich it feeds. 

CROSSBILL (Fr. Bec-croisd, Germ. Kreuzschnabel), the name 
given to a genus of birds, belonging to the Family Fringillidai 
(Finch), from the unique peculiarity they possess among the 
Avhole Class of having the horny sheaths of the bill crossing one 



another obliquely,^ whence the appellation Loxia (Ao^os, oUiquus), 
conferred by Gesner on the group and continued by Linnseus. At 
first sight this singular structure appears so like a deformity that 
writers have not been wanting to account it such,^ ignorant of its 
being a piece of mechanism most beautifully adapted to the habits 
of the bird, enabling it to extract mth the greatest ease, from 
fir-cones or fleshy fruits, the seeds which form its usual and almost 
inyariable food. Its mode of using this unique instrument seems 
to have been first described by Townson (Tracts on Nat. Hist. 
p. 116, London : 1799), but only partially, and it was Yarrell who, 
in 1829 (Zool. Jourii. iv. pp. 459-465, pi. xiv. figs. 1-7), explained 
fully the means whereby the jaws and the muscles which direct 
their movements become so effective in riving asunder cones or 
apples, while at the proper moment the scoop-like tongue is 
instantaneously thrust out and withdi'awn, conveying the hitherto 
protected seed to the bird's mouth. Without going into details it 
may be observed that in the Crossbills the articulation of the 
mandible to the quadrate -bone is such as to allow of a very 
considerable amount of lateral play, and, by a particular arrange- 
ment of the muscles which move the former, it comes to pass that 
so soon as the bird opens its mouth the point of the mandible is 
brought immediately opposite to that of the maxilla (which itself is 
movable vertically) instead of crossing or overlapping it — the usual 
position when the mouth is closed. The two points thus meeting, the 
bill is inserted between the scales or into the pome, but on opening 
the mouth still more "widely, the lateral motion of the mandible is 
once more brought to bear with great force to wrench aside the 
portion of the fruit attacked, and then the action of the tongue 
completes the operation, which is so rapidly performed as to defy 
scrutiny, except on very close inspection. Fortunately the birds 
soon become tame in confinement, and a little patience ■will enable 
an attentive observer to satisfy himself as to the process, the result 
of which at first seems almost as unaccountable as that of a clever 
conjuring trick. 

^ As an accidental malformation, however, the peculiarity has been many 
times observed in other groups of birds, and especially in the Crows {Corvidx). 
Such cases may be well compared to the monstrosity often seen iu Rabbits and 
other members of the Order Glircs, wherein the incisor teeth grow to inordinate 

- The special animosity of De Bufibn on this point may perhaps be explained 
by the existence of a meditcval legend (of which, however, be it said, he takes 
no notice), best known to English readers by Longfellow's pretty version of 
Mosen's poem, to the effect that the bird acquired its peculiar conformation of 
bill and coloration of plumage in recognition of the pity it bestowed on the 
suffering Saviour at the crucifi.\ion. Schwenckfeld in 1603 {Thcriotropheum 
SilcsiiE, pp. 253, 254) gave the fable in the Latin verses of Johannes Major, which 
have been reprinted in Notes and Queries (ser. 5, vii. p. 505). 


The Common Crossbill of the Palaearctic area, Loxia cur- 
virostra, is about the size of a Skylark, but more stoutly built. 
The young (which on leaving the nest have not the tips of the bill 
crossed) are of a dull olive colour with indistinct dark stripes on 
the lower parts, and the quills of the wings and tail dusky. After 
the first moult the difference between the sexes is shewn by the 
hens inclining to yellowish-green, while the cocks become diversified 
by orange-yellow and red, their plumage finally deepening into a 
rich crimson-red, varied in places by a flame-colour. Their glowing 
hues are, however, speedily lost by examples which may be kept in 
confinement, and are replaced by a dull orange, or in some cases 
by a bright golden-yellow, and specimens have, though rarely, 
occurred in a wild state exhibiting the same tints. The cause of 
these changes is at present obscure, if not unknown, and it must be 
admitted that their sequence has been disputed by some excellent 
authorities, but the balance of evidence is certainly in favour of 
the above statement. Depending mainly for food on the seeds of 
conifers, the movements of Crossbills are irregular beyond those of 
most birds, and they would seem to rove in any direction and at 
any season in quest of their staple sustenance. But the pips of 
apples are also a favourite dainty, and it stands recorded by the 
old chronicler Matthew Paris (Hist. Angl. MS. fol. 252), that in 
1251 the orchards of England were ravaged by birds, "pomorum 
grana, & non aliud de eisdem pomis comedentes " ; which, from his 
description, " Habebant autem partes rostri cancellatas, per quas 
poma quasi forcipi vel cultello dividebant," could be none other but 
Crossbills. Notice of a like visitation in 1593 was published by 
Wats {Vit. 2 Offar. &c. 1640, p. 263), but of late it has become 
evident that hardly a year passes without Crossbills being observed 
in some part or other of England, while in certain localities in 
Scotland they seem to breed annually. The nest is rather rudely 
constructed, and the eggs, generally four in number, resemble 
those of the Greenfinch, but are larger in size. This species 
ranges throughout the continent of Europe,^ and, besides occurring 
in the islands of the Mediterranean, is permanently resident in 
Mauritania and in the fir-woods of the Atlas. In Asia it would 
seem to extend to Kamchatka and Japan, keeping mainly to the 

Three other forms of the genus also inhabit the Old World — 
two of them so closely resembling the common bird that their 
specific validity has been often questioned. The first of these, of 
large stature, the Parrot-Crossbill, L. pityopsittacus, comes occasion- 
ally to Great Britain, presumably from Scandinavia, where it is 

•^ It was obtained by Dr. Malmgren on the desolate Bear Island (lat. 74^° N". ), 
and in the autumn of 1889 enormous flocks were observed migrating southward 
along the coast of Portugal by the present King of that country. 


known to breed. The second, L. himalayana, which is a good deal 
smaller, is only known from the Himalaya Mountains. The third, 
the Two-barred Crossbill, L. txnioptera, is very distinct, and its 
proper home seems to be the most northern forests of the Russian 
empire, but it has occasionally occurred in Western Europe and 
even in England. 

The New World has two birds of the genus. The first, L. 
americana, representing our common species, but with a smaller bill, 
and the males easily recognizable by their more scarlet plumage, 
ranges from the northern limit of coniferous trees to the highlands 
of Mexico, or even further. The other, L. leucopfera, is the 
equivalent of the Two -barred Crossbill, but smaller. It has 
occurred in England at least thrice. 

CEOW (Holland. Kraai, Germ. Krdlie, Fr. Corbeau, Lat. Corvus), 
a name most commonly applied in Britain to the bkd properly 
called a Rook, Corvus frugilegxcs, but perhaps originally peculiar to 
its congener, nowadays usually distinguished as the Black or 
Carrion-Crow, C. carone. By ornithologists it is also used in a far 
A^dder sense, as under the title Crows, or Corvidse, is included a vast 
number of birds from almost all parts of the world, and this family 
is probably the most highly develojDed of the whole Class Aves. 
Leaving out of account the best known of these, as the Chough, 
Daw, Jay, Nutcracker, Pie, Raven, and Rook, it will be enough 
to consider here the species of the Family to which the appellation 
is strictly applicable, for of the limits and subdivisions of this 
Family it is at present desirable to speak with great caution, if not 
doubt. All authorities admit that it is very extensive, and is capable 
of being parted into several groups, but scarcely any two agree on 
either head. Especially must reserve be exercised as regards the 
group Streperinx, or Piping Crows, belonging to the Australian 
Region, and referred by some writers to the Shrikes, Laniidm : 
since it is highly probable that Parker's suggestion (Trans. Zool. Soc. 
ix. p. 327) as to the recognition of these " Austro-Coraces" as a 
distinct Family will prove to be correct. On the other hand, it 
seems hardly possible to admit, as some have done, that the Jays 
require raising to that rank or even to separate them as a subfamily 
from the Pies, Pica and its neighbours, which lead almost insensibly 
to the typical Crows, Cwvinx. Dismissing then these subjects, we 
may turn to what may be literally considered Crows, and attention 
must be mainly directed to the Black or Carrion-Crow, Connis 
corone, and the Grey, Hooded, or Royston Crow, C. comix. Both 
these inhabit Europe, but their range and the time of their appearance 
are very different. Without going into minute details, it will 
suffice to say that the former is, speaking generally, a summer- 
visitant to the south-western part of this quarter of the globe, and 

CROW 117 

that the latter occupies the north-eastern portion — an irregular line 
drawn diagonally from about the Fii'th of Clyde to the head of the 
Adriatic roughly marking their respective distribution. But both 
are essentially migrants, and hence it follows than when the Black 
Crow, as summer comes to an end, retires southward, the Grey 
Crow moves downward, and in many districts replaces it during 
the winter. Further than this, it has now been incontestably 
proved that along or near the boundary where these two birds 
march, they not infrequently interbreed, and it is believed that the 
hybrids, which sometimes wholly resemble one or other of the 
parents and at other times assume an intermediate plumage, pair 
indiscriminately among themselves, or with the pure stock. Hence 
it has seemed to some ornithologists who have studied the subject, 
that these two birds, so long unhesitatingly regarded as distinct 
species, are only local races of one and the same dimorphic species. 
No structural difference — or indeed any difference except that of 
range (already spoken of) and colour — can be detected, and the 
problem they offer is one of which the solution is exceedingly 
interesting if not important to zoologists in general.^ 

The views here briefly expressed have been set forth much more 
fully in the fourth edition of Yarrell's British Birds (ii. pp. 274-288) ; 
but they seem to be highly distasteful to some writers, whose remarks, 
however, shew a curious inability to appreciate the admitted facts of 
the question. The mode of life of the CroAvs needs not to be 
described. Almost omnivorous in their diet, there is little edible 
that comes amiss to them, and, except in South America and NeAv 
Zealand, they are mostly omnipresent. The number of species 
described is considerable, but doubtless should and will be ruthlessly 
curtailed when a revision of the group is undertaken by any orni- 
thologist working with proper materials. The Fish-Crow of North 
America, C. ossifragus, demands a few words, since it betrays a taste 
for maritime habits beyond that of other species, but our own 
Crows of Europe are not averse on occasion from prey cast up by the 
waters, though they will hardly draw it thence for themselves. 
The so-called "Hooded Crow" of India, C. splendens, is not very 
nearly allied to its European namesake, from which it can be 
readily distinguished by its smaller size and the lustrous tints of 
its darkest feathers, while its confidence in the human race has been 
so long encouraged by its intercourse Avith an unarmed and in- 
offensive population, that it becomes a plague to the Em^opean 
abiding or travelling where it is abundant. Hardly a station or 
camp in British India is free from a crowd of feathered followers 

■^ As bearing upon this question may be mentioned the fact that the Crow of 
Australia, C. australis, is divisible into two forms or races, one having the irides 
white, the other of a dark colour. It is stated that they keep apart and do not 


of this species, ready to dispute with the Kites and the cooks the 
very meat at the fire ; and when any lengthened settlement is 
established the Crows will build their nests of the wire from the 
Englishman's soda-water bottles. 

CROWJST-BIRD, the name given by some old African travellers 
to one or more species of TouRACO (c/. Latham, G&n. Hist. B. v. 
p. 176). 

CUBITALS (or Secondaries) are those Eemiges which are 
supported by the upper surface of the ulna or cubitus of the 
anterior extremity. The rational way of counting them is to 
begin with the quill nearest to the wrist-joint, because reduction 
and addition in numbers takes place at the proximal end of the 
ulna. The number of the cubitals is reduced to 6 in the Trochi- 
lidse apd is increased to 30 and more in some Tubinares ; it 
stands in direct correlation with the length of the wing bones. 
Archseopteryx seems to have possessed 10 cubitals, which probably 
approaches closely the original number in true Birds. Of perhaps 
some slight taxonomic value is the presence or absence of the 
original fifth cubital quill. This peculiarity was discovered by 
Gerbe {Bull. Soc. Zool. France, 1877, p. 289), and followed up by 
Wray, Gadow, and Sclater {P.Z.S. 1887, p. 343; 1888, p. 655; 
and Ihis, 1890, p. 77). Contrary to expectation, the missing fifth 
quill shews no trace of its former existence in embryos, there 
being a distinct gap between the fourth and sixth quill, while the 
upper and lower fifth coverts remain. This peculiarity is still 
unexplained. Wray proposed to call the birds with the fifth quill 
normally developed quincuhital, those without it aqiiincubital ! 

Among the Eatitte with well -developed cubitals, are Struthio, 
Rhea, and Apteryx ; and among the Carinatse, Psophia, Dicholophus, 
and Rhinochetus ; the Gallinse except the Megapodes ; the Tm-nices 
and Crypturi ; Opisthocomus, all the Picarise after exclusion of the 
Psittaci; all the Passeres, Colius, Trochilidse, and Caprimulginse 
possess the fifth cubital. In the Alcedinid^ and some Cypselid^e 
it is variable. 

The groups with typically-developed remiges that have no fifth 
cubital are Anseres (including Palamedea), Colymbida?, Podicipedidffi, 
Steganopodes, Tubinares, Herodii, Pelargi, Laro-Limicolfe, Grus, 
Aramus, Eurypyga, all the Fulicarioe (except Psophia, Dicholophus, 
and Rhinochetus), the Pteroclid^, Columbidse, Accipitres, Psittaci, 
and Striges (also see Ptf.rylosis). 

CUCKOW, or Cuckoo, as the word is now generally spelt — 
though without any apparent warrant for the change except that 
accorded by custom, while some of the more scholarly English 
ornithologists, as Montagu and Jenyns, have kept the older form — 
the common name of a well-kno\m and often-heard bird, the Cuculus 


canorus of Linnseus. In some parts of the United Kingdom it is 
more frequently called Gowk, and it is the Greek kokkv^, the Italian 
Cuculo or Cimo, the French Coucou, the German KucJmk, the Dutch 
Koekkoek, the Danish KuJcJcer or Gjog, and the Swedish Got The 
oldest English spelling of the name seems to have been Cuccu. 

No single bird has perhaps so much occupied the atten- 
tion both of naturalists and of those who are not natiuralists, 
or has had so much written about it, as this, and of no bird 
perhaps have more idle tales been told. Its strange and, accord- 
ing to the experience of most people, its singular habit of 
entrusting its offspring to foster-parents is enough to account for 
much of the interest which has been so long felt in its history ; but 
this habit is shared probably by many of its Old- World relatives, 
as well as in the New World by birds which are not in any near 
degree related to it (c/. Cow-bied). In giving here a short account 
of this species, there will be no need to refute much of the nonsense 
about it which has found access to works even of respectable 
authority ; but, besides the known facts of its economy, there are 
certain suppositions in regard to parts of its history that are un- 
known, which suppositions are apparently probable enough to 
deserve notice. 

To begin with the known facts. The Cuckow is a summer- 
visitant to the whole of Europe, reaching even far within the Arctic 
circle, and crossing the Mediterranean from its winter-quarters in 
Africa at the end of March or beginning of April. Its arrival is at 
once proclaimed by the peculiar and in nearly all languages ono- 
matopoetic cry of the cock — a true song in the technical sense of 
the word, since it is confined to the male sex and to the season of 
love. In a few days the cock is followed by the hen, and amorous 
contests between keen and loud-voiced suitors are to be commonly 
noticed, until the respective pretensions of the rivals are decided. 
Even by night they are not silent ; but as the season advances the 
song is less frequently heard, and the Cuckow seems rather to avoid 
observation as much as possible, the more so since whenever it 
shews itself it is a signal for all the small birds of the neighbour- 
hood to be up in its pursuit, just as though it were a Hawk, to 
which indeed its mode of flight and general appearance give it an 
imdoubted resemblance — a resemblance that misleads some beings, 
who ought to know better, into confounding it with the Birds-of- 
prey, instead of recognizing it as a harmless if not a beneficial 
destroyer of hairy caterpillars. Thus pass away some weeks. 
Towards the middle or end of June its " plain-song " cry alters ; it 
becomes rather hoarser in tone, and its first syllable or note is 
doubled. Soon after it is no longer heard at all, and by the middle 
of July an old Cuckow is seldom to be found in these islands, 
though a stray example, or even, but very rarely, two or three in 


company, may occasionally be seen for a month longer. TMs is 
about as much as is apparent to most people of the life of the 
Cuckow mth us. Of its breeding comparatively few have any 
personal experience. Yet there are those who know that diligent 
search for and peering into the nests of several of our commonest 
little birds — more especially the Pied Wagtail (Motacilla luguhis), 
the Titlark (Anthus pratensis), the Eeed-Wren (Acrocephahs 
streperus), and the Hedge-Sparrow {Accentor modularis) — will be 
rewarded by the discovery of the egg of the mysterious stranger 
which has been surreptitiously introduced therein, and waiting 
till this egg is hatched they may be "ttdtnesses (as was the famous 
Jenner in the last century ^) of the murderous eviction of the 
rightful tenants of the nest by the intruder, who, hoisting them 
one after another on his broad back, heaves them over to die 
neglected by their own parents, of whose solicitous care he thus 
becomes "the only object. In this manner he thrives, and, so long 
as he remains in the country of his birth, his wants are anxiously 
supplied by the victims of his mother's dupery. The actions of his 
foster-parents become, when he is full gro'rni, almost ludicrous, for 
they often have to perch between his shoulders to place in his 
gaping mouth the delicate morsels he is too indolent or too stupid 
to take from their bill. Early in September he begins to shift for 
himself, and then follows the elders of his kin to more southern 

Of the way in which it seems possible that this ciu'ious habit of 
the Cuckow may have originated something A\dll be found else- 
where (Nidification). But in connexion with its successful prac- 
tice a good deal yet remains to be determined, most of which, 
however probable, is still to be proved. So much caution is used 
by the hen Cuckow in choosing a nest in which to deposit her egg 
that the act of insertion has been but seldom witnessed. The nest 
selected is moreover often so situated, or so built, that it Avould be 
an absolute impossibility for a bird of her size to lay her egg 
therein by sitting upon the fabric as birds commonly do ; and there 
have been a few fortunate observers who have actually seen the 
deposition of the egg upon the ground by the CuckoAv, who, then 
taking it in her bill, introduces it into the nest. Of these, so far at 
least as this country is concerned, the earliest seem to be two 
Scottish lads, sons of Mr. Tripeny, a farmer in Coxmuir, who 
informed Weir, as recorded by Macgilli^a*ay {Brit. Birds, iii. pp. 
130, 131), that they saw most part of the operation performed, 24th 
June 1838. But perhaps the most positive evidence on the point 
is that of Herr Adolf Miiller, a forester at Gladenbach in Darni- 

' A wholly unjustifiable attempt has lately beeu ruade to impugn Jenner'a 
accuracy. His observations as printed in the Philosophical Transactions lor 1788 
(pp. 227 et seqq.), have been corroborated by others iu the most minute detail. 


stadt, who says (Zoolog. Garten, 1866, pp. 374, 375) that through a 
telescope he watched a Cuckow as she laid her egg on a bank, and 
then conveyed the egg in her bill to a Wagtail's nest. Cuckows 
too have been not unfrequently shot as they were carrying a 
Cuckow's egg, presumably their own, in their bill,^ and this has 
probably given rise to the vulgar, but seemingly groundless, belief 
that they suck the eggs of other kinds of birds. More than this, 
Kowley, who had much experience of Cuckows, declared {Ibis, 
1865, p. 186) his opinion to be that traces of violence and of a 
scuffle between the intruder and the owners of the nest at the time 
of introducing the egg often appear, whence we are led to suppose 
that the Cuckow ordinarily, when inserting her egg, excites the 
fury (already stimulated by her Hawk-like appearance) of the 
owners of the nest by turning out one or more of the eggs that 
may be already laid therein, and thus induces the dupe to brood all 
the more readily and more strongly what is left to her. Of the 
assertion that the Cuckow herself takes any interest in the future 
welfare of the egg she has foisted on her victim, or of its product, 
there is no evidence worth a moment's attention. 

But a much more curious assertion has also been made, and one 
that at first sight appears so incomprehensible as to cause little 
surprise at the neglect it long encountered, -^lian, who flourished 
in the second century, declared (Be Nat. Anim. III. xxx.) that the 
Cuckow laid eggs in the nests of those birds only that produced 
eggs like her own — a statement which is of course far too general ; 
but in 1767 currency was given to it by Sal erne (L'Jiist. Nat. Ois. 
p. 42), who was, however, hardly a believer in it ; and it is to the 
effect, as he was told by an inhabitant of Sologne, that the egg of 
a Cuckow resembles in colour that of the eggs normally laid by the 
kind of bird in whose nest it is placed. In 1853 the same notion 
was prominently and independently brought forward by Dr. 
Baldamus (Naumannia, 1853, pp. 307-325), and in time became 
known to English ornithologists, most of whom were sceptical as to 
its truth, as well they might be, since no likeness whatever is 
ordinarily apparent in the very familiar case of the blue-green egg 
of the H edge-Spar roAv and that of the Cuckow, which is so often 
found beside it.^ Dr. Baldamus based his notion on a series of eggs 
in his cabinet,^ a selection from which he figured (op. cit. 1854, pi. v.) 

^ The earliest instance of tliis in the British Islands seems to be that 
reported by Thompson {B. Irel. iii. p. 472) ; another was recorded in 1851 
{Zool. p. 3145) ; but Le Vaillant seems to have been the first to discover the fact 
in a South African species {Ois. d! Afr. v. pp. 47, 48), and untrustworthy witness 
as he was, in this case he seems to have spoken truly. 

^ An instance to the contrary was recorded by Mr. A. C. Smith {Zoologist, 1873, 
p. 3516) on Mr. Brine's authority, and a few others have since been observed. 

^ This series was seen in 1861 by the writer. 


in illustration of his paper, and, however the thing may be accounted 
for, it seems impossible to resist, save on one supposition, the force of 
the testimony these specimens afford. This one supposition is that 
the eggs have been wrongly ascribed to the Cuckow, and that they 
are only exceptionally large examples of the eggs of the birds in the 
nests of which they were found, for it cannot be gainsaid that some 
such abnormal examples are occasionally to be met with. But it is 
well known that abnormally-large eggs are not only often deficient 
in depth of colour, but still more often in stoutness of shell. 
Applying these rough criteria to Dr. Baldamus's series, most of the 
specimens stand the test very well, and, though no doubt more 
precise and delicate examination, than any to which they seem to 
have been submitted, were desirable, there are some other consider- 
ations to be urged. For instance, Herr Braune, a forester at Greiz 
in the principality of Reuss {Naumannia, 1853, pp. 307, 313), shot 
a hen Cuckow as she was leaving the nest of an Icterine Warbler 
(Hyjjolais iderina). In the oviduct of this Cuckow he found an egg 
coloured very like that of the Warbler, and on looking into the 
nest he found there an exactly similar egg, which there can be no 
reasonable doubt had just been laid by that very Cuckow. More- 
over, Herr Crunack {Jour, fur Orn. 1873, p. 454) has since found 
one of the most abnormally-coloured specimens, quite unlike the 
ordinary egg of the Cuckow, to contain an embryo so fully formed 
as to shew the characteristic zygodactyl feet of the bird, thus 
proving unquestionably its parentage. Now these being both of 
them extreme cases. Dr. Baldamus may fairly claim attention to his 
assertion; for short of absolutely disbelieving his word we must 
admit that he has ground for it. On the other hand, we must 
bear in mind the numerous instances in which not the least simi- 
larity can be traced — as in the not uncommon case of the Hedge- 
Sparrow already mentioned, and if we attempt any explanatory 
hypothesis it must be one that will fit all round. Such a one then 
seems to be this. We know that certain kinds of birds resent 
interference with their nests much less than others, and among 
them it may be asserted that the Hedge-Sparrow will patiently 
submit to various experiments. She will brood with complacency 
the egg of a Redbreast (Erithacus ruhemla), so unlike her ov^ti, and 
for aught we know to the contrary may even be colour-blind. In 
the case of such a species there would be no need of anything 
further to insure success — the terror of the nest-OA^oier at seeing her 
home invaded by a Hawk-like giant, and some of her treasm-es 
tossed out, would be enough to stir her motherly feelings so deeply 
that she would without misgi\-ing, if not with joy that something 
had l)een spared to her, resume the duty of incubation so soon as 
the danger Avas past. But Avith other species it may be, nay doubt- 
less it is, different. Here assimilation of the introduced egg to 



those of the rightful owner may be necessary, for there can hardly 
be a doubt as to the truth of Dr. Baldamus's theory (the only 
theory, by the way, he has put forth), as to the object of the 
assimilation being to render the Cuckow's egg " less easily recog- 
nized by the foster-parents as a substituted one." But in this place 
it is especially desirable to point out that there is not the slightest 
ground for imagining that the Cuckow, or any other bird, can 
voluntarily influence the colour of the egg she is about to lay. 
Over that she can have no control, but its destination she can 
determine. It is also impossible that a Cuckow having laid an egg, 
should look at it, and then decide from its appearance in what 
bird's nest she should put it. That the colour of an egg-shell can 
be in some mysterious way affected by the action of external 
objects on the perceptive faculties of the mother is a notion too 
wild to be seriously entertained.^ Consequently, only one explana- 
tion of the facts can here be suggested. Every one who has 
sufiiciently studied the habits of animals Avill admit the tendency of 
some of those habits to become hereditary. That there is a 
reasonable probability of each Cuckow most commonly putting her 
eggs in the nest of the same species of bird, and of this habit being 
transmitted to her posterity, does not seem to be a very violent 
supposition. Without attributing any wonderful sagacity to her, 
it does not seem unlikely that the Cuckow which had once success- 
fully foisted her egg on a Reed- Wren or a Titlark should again 
seek for another Reed- Wren's or another Titlark's nest (as the case 
may be), when she had another egg to disjDOse of, and that she 
should continue her practice from one season to another. It stands 
on record {Zoologist, 1873, p. 3648) that a pair of Wagtails built 
their nest for eight or nine years running in almost exactly the 
same spot, and that in each of those years they fostered a young 
Cuckow, while many other cases of like kind, though not perhaps 
established on authority so good, are believed to have happened. 
Such a habit could hardly fail to become hereditary, so that the 
daughter of a Cuckow which always put her egg into a Reed- Wren's, 
Titlark's, or Wagtail's nest would do as did her mother. Further- 
more it is unquestionable that, whatever variation there may be 
among the eggs laid by different individuals of the same species, 
there is a strong family likeness between the eggs laid by the same 
indiAddual, even at the interval of many years, and it can hardly be 
questioned that the eggs of the daughter would more or less 
resemble those of her mother. Hence the supposition may be 
fairly regarded that the habit of laying a particular style of Qgg is 
also likely to become hereditary. Combining this supposition with 
that as to the Cuckow's habit of using the nest of the same species 

^ The misconception of tlie unreasoning mind on all tliese points is almost 


becoming hereditary, it \vill be seen that it requires but an applica- 
tion of the principle of " Natural Selection " to shew the probability 
of this principle operating in the course of time to produce the facts 
asserted by ^lian, by the anonymous Solognot of the last century, 
and by Dr. Baldamus and others since. The particular gens of 
Cuckow which inherited and transmitted the habit of depositing in 
the nest of any particular species of bird eggs having more or less 
resemblance to the eggs of that species would prosper most in those 
members of the gens where the likeness was strongest, and the other 
members would [cseteris paribus) in time be eliminated. As already 
shewn, it is not to be supposed that all species, or even all 
individuals of a species, are duped Avith equal ease. The operation 
of this kind of natural selection would be most needed in those 
cases where the species are not easily duped, — that is, in those 
cases which occur the least frequently. Here it is we find it, for 
observation shews that eggs of the Cuckow dej)osited in nests of 
the Red-Backed Shrike (Lanius coUurio), of the Bunting (Emheriza 
miliaria), of the Redstart (Ruticilla phoenicura), and of the Icterine 
"VVarbler approximate in their colouring to eggs of those species — 
species in whose nests the Cuckow rarely (in comparison with 
others) deposits eggs. Of species which are more easily duped, 
such as the Hedge-Sparrow, mention has already been made. 

More or less nearly allied to oiu" Cuckow are many other forms 
of the genus from various parts of Africa, Asia, and their islands, 
while one even reaches Australia. How many of these deserve 
specific recognition vnll long be a question among ornithologists 
which need not be discussed here. In some cases the chief differ- 
ence is said to lie in the diversity of voice — a character only to be 
appreciated by those acquainted with the living birds, and though 
of course some regard should be paid to this distinction, the possi- 
bility of birds using different " dialects " according to the locality 
they inhabit (see Song) must make it a slender specific diagnostic. 
All these forms are believed to have essentially the same habits as 
our Cuckow, and, as regards parasitism, the same is to be said of 
the large Cuckow of Southern Europe and North Africa, Cocci/stes 
glandarius, which victimizes Pies (Pica mauritanica and Cyanopica 
cooki) and Crows (Corvus comix). True it is that an instance of this 
species, commonly knoAvn as the Great Spotted Cuckow, having 
built a nest and hatched its young is on record, but this is a mani- 
fest error (c/. Salvadori, Uccelli cV Italia, pi. 42) ; the later observa- 
tions of Dr. A. E. Brehm, Canon Tristram, Stafford Allen, and 
others leave no doubt on the subject. It is worthy of remark that 
the eggs of this bird so closely resemble those of one of the Pies in 
whose nest they have been found, that even expert oologists have 
been deceived l)y them, only to discover the truth when the 
Cuckow 's embryo had been extracted from the supposed Pie's egg. 



a, CucuLus ; 6, Oxylophus ; c, Chalcites ; d, e, Zanclostoma, 
/, PiAYA ; g, CenteopL'S. (After Swainson.) 

This species of CuckoAv, easily distinguishable by its large size, long 

crest, and the primrose tinge of its throat, has more than once 

made its apjDear- 

ance as a straggler 

in the British Isles. 

Equally parasitic 

are many other 

Cuckows, belong- 
ing chiefly to 

genera which have 

been more or less 

clearly defined as 

Cacomantis, Chryso- 

coccyx, Eticlynamis, 

Oxylophus, Fhcenicophaes, Polyphasia, Surniculus, and Zandostoma, and 

inhabit] ii;.: Y,\.v\- i>f the Ethiopian, Indian, and Australian Regions;^ 

but there are certain aberrant forms of 
Old -World Cuckows which unques- 
tionably do not shirk parental responsi- 
bilities. Among these especially are 
the birds placed in or allied to the 
genera Centropus (Coucal) and Coua — 
the latter bearing no English name, 
and limited to the island of Madagascar. 
These build a nest, not perhaps in a 
highly -finished style of architecture, 
but one that serves its end.^ 
Respecting the Cuckows of America, the evidence, though it 

has been impugned, is nearly enough to clear them from the 

calumny which attaches to so many of their brethren of the Old 

World. There are two species very well known in parts of the 

United States 

and some of 

the West-Indian 

Islands, Coccyzus 

americcmus and 

C. erythrophthal- 

mus, and each 

of them has Fhcenicophaes. Saurothep.a. Dasylophus. (After Swainson.) 

occasionally visited Europe. They both build nests — remarkably 
small structures when compared with those of other birds of their 
size — and faithfully incubate their delicate sea-green eggs. In the 
south-western States of the Union and thence into Central America 

^ Evidence tends to shew that the same is to be said of the curious Channel- 
bill, Scythroj)s novai-hollandiss, but absolute proof seems to be wanting. 
^ See Graudidier and Milne-Edwards Oiscaux dc Madagascar (ji. 140). 

Coua. (After Swainson.) 


is found the curious form, Geococcyx (Chapparal-COCk). The genera 
NeomoT'phus, Diplopterus, Saurothera, and Piaya (the last two com- 
monly called Eain-birds, from the belief that their cry portends 
rain) may be noticed— all of them belonging to the Neotropical 
Region ; but perhaps the most curious form of American Cuckows 
is Crotophaga (Ani), of which three species inhabit the same Region. 
The best-known species (0. ani) is found throughout the Antilles 
and on the opposite continent. In most of the British colonies it 
is known as the Black Witch, and is accused of various malpractices 
— it being, in truth, a perfectly harmless if not a beneficial bird. 
As regards its propagation this aberrant form of Cuckow departs as 
much in one direction from the normal habit of birds as do so many 
of our familiar friends of the Old World in the other, for several 
females unite to lay their eggs in one nest. Full details of ■ its 
economy are wanting, but it is evident that incubation is carried on 
socially, since an intruder on approaching the rude nest will disturb 
perhaps half a dozen of its sable proprietors, who, loudly complain- 
ing, seek safety either in the leafy branches of the tree that holds 
it, or in the nearest available covert, with all the speed that their 
feeble powers of flight permit. 

names for the WRYNECK. 

CURASSOW,^ the ordinary corruption of Curagoa-bird, as the 
name was spelt in 1756 by Browne (Civ. and Nat. Hist. Jamaica, 
p. 470), and doubtless due to the belief that the birds of this kind 
first kno'wn to English voyagers came from the island so called. 
They form the Linneean genus Crax, and the Family Cracidse, which 
is held by Messrs. Sclater and Salvin (Froc. Zool. Soc. 1870, pp. 
504-544) to include three subfamilies — Cracinm the Cxu-assows proper, 
Penelopinse (Guan), and Oreophasinse — the last consisting of but a 
single species, the beautiful Oreophasis derbianus of the Volcan de 
Fuego in Guatemala, of whose haunts and habits Mr. Salvin has 
given an excellent account (Ibis, 1860, pp. 248-253). Prof. Huxley 
has shewn (Proc. Zool. Soc. 1868, pp. 294-319) that the Cracidse 
with the Megapodiidse (Megapode) form a distinct group of 
Alectoromorphje or Galling, to which he applied the name 
Peristeropodes, and thereon based some views of Geographical 

^ Dampier, a good authority on many things but not on orthography, in 1699 
and 1703, used Corresso and Curreso [Voy. ii. pt. 2, p. 67, and iii. pt. 1, p. 74) ; 
Albin in 1738 wrote {N. H. Birds, ii. p. 29) of birds of this kind (he having 
figured both male and female), "They are generally brought from Carassoiv, from 
whence they take their name." Sloane in 1707 [Voy. p. 302) used Qidrizao for 
both island and bird ; and Linnseus in 1758 {Syst. Nat. ed. 10, i. p. 157) used 
Gallus curassivicus, which he professedly got from Aldrovandus, in whose work, 
however, I have failed to find it. He figiu'es a sjiecies of Crax as Gallus Indicus 
(lib. xiv. cap. 10). 



Distribution which are considered elsewhere. But at present to 
■treat of the Cradnse, the two authors above mentioned recognize 4 
good genera :— Crax with a soft cere, and the nostrils placed in 
the middle of the maxilla, while the remain- 
ing three have the whole of the hill horny 
and the nostrils at its base, the lores being 
bare in Nothocrax, but feathered in Pauxis 
(Cashew-bird) and 3'Iitua, the former of 
which bears the 
curious frontal 
knob already 
mentioned, while 
the latter has the 
culmen of its short 
and greatly com- 
pressed bill ele- 
vated and swollen. 
Many further par- 


(After Swainson.) 

ticulars of the Curassows may be gathered from tAvo other papers 
by Mr. Sclater (Trans. Zool Soc. ix. pp. 273-288, pis. 40-53, and x. 
pp. 543-546, pis. 89-95), which are illusti'ated copiously and mostly 
from living examples, for these birds thrive well in confinement, 
though the hopes once entertained of their capacity for domestica- 
tion have been disappointed.^ The Cracidm are one of the most 
characteristic Families of the Neotropical Region, outside of which 
but few of them and none of the Cracinx go, and are especially 
abundant in Central and the north parts of South America, few 
being found in Paraguay, and none in Patagonia or Chili. 

CURLEW, in French Courlis or Corlieu, a name given to two 
birds, of whose cry it is an imitation, both belonging to the group 
Limicolse, but possessing very different habits and features. 

1. The Long-billed Curlew, or simply Curlew of most British 
writers, the Numenius arquata^ of ornithologists, is one of the 
largest of the Family Scolopacidx, or Snipes and allied forms. It 
is common on the shores of the United Kingdom and most 
parts of Europe, seeking the heaths and moors of the interior and 
more northern countries in the breeding -season, wdiere it lays its 
four brownish-green eggs, suffused Avith cinnamon markings, in an 
artless nest on the ground. Li England it has been ascertained to 
breed in Cornwall and in the counties of Devon, Dorset, Salop, and 

^ On this see E. S. Dixon, The Dovecote and the Aviary, pp. 223-279 (London : 

" Some authors have tried to improve on this word by writing arquatus, 
which is nonsense, though arcitatus might be right. As a matter of fact, arquata 
is a substantive and the name of the bird in mediaeval Latin, which of course 
Linuoeus knew. 


Derby — though, sparingly. In Yorkshire it is more numerous, and 
thence to the extreme north of Scotland, as well as throughout 
Ireland, it is, under the name of Whaup, familiar to those who 
have occasion to traverse the Avild and desolate tracts that best suit 
its habits. So soon as the young are able to shift for themselves, 
both they and their parents resort to the sea-shore or mouths of 
rivers, from the muddy fiats of which they at low tide obtain their 
living, and, though almost beyond any other birds wary of 
approach, form an object of pursuit to numerous gunners. While 
leading this littoral life the food of the Curlew seems to consist of 
almost anything edible that presents itself. It industriously probes 
the mud or sand in quest of the worms that lurk therein, and is 
also active in seeking for such crustaceans and moUusks as can be 
picked up on the surface, while vegetable matter as well has been 
found -in its stomach. During its summer-sojourn on the moor- 
lands insects and berries, when they are ripe, enter largely into its 
diet. In bulk the Curlew is not less than a Crow, but it looks 
larger still from its long legs, wings, and neck. Its bill, from 5 to 
7 inches in length, and terminating in the delicate nervous 
apparatus common to all birds of its Family, is especially its most 
remarkable feature. Its plumage above is of a drab colour 
streaked and mottled "with very dark brown ; beneath it is white, 
while the flight-quills are of a broA\aiish black. 

Nearly allied to the Curlew, but smaller and "with a more 
northern range, is the Whiinibrel, N. plixopus, called in some parts 
Jack-Curlew, from its small size — May-fowl, from the month in 
which it usually arrives — and Titterel from one of its cries.^ This 
so much resembles the former in habit and appearance that no 
further details need be given of it. In the countries bordering on 
the Mediterranean occurs a third species, N. tenuirostris, the home 
of which has yet to be ascertained. Some 15 other species, or 
more, have been described, but Mr. Seebohm (Geogr. Distrih. Chara- 
driiclx, p. 321) admits but 11 in all Avith 2 "subspecies." The 
genus Numenius is almost cosmopolitan. In North America three 
very easily recognized species are found — the first, N. longirostris, 
closely agreeing A\dth the European CurleAv, but larger and Anth a 
longer bill ; the second, N, hudsonicus, representing our Whimbrel ; 
and the third, N. iorealis, Avhich has several times found its Avay to 
Britain, very much less in size. All these essentially agree Avith 
the species of the Old World in habit ; but it is remarkable that 
the American birds can be easily distinguished by the rufous colour- 
ing of their axillary feathers — a feature Avhich is also presented by 
the American GODWITS (Limosa). A very singular pcculiarit}^ is 
afforded by N. iaJiiticiisis or femoralis, a species Avhich seems to have 

^ The name Spowe (c/. Icelandic Sp6i) also seems to have been anciently given 
to this bird (sec Stevenson's Birds of yorfoUc, ii. p. 201). 


its home in Alaska and Avinters in the islands of the Pacific. In this 
bird the shaft of most of the feathers clothing its legs is produced 
into a long glistening bristle. 

2. The Curlew of inlanders, or Stone-Curlew — called also, by 
some Avriters, from its stronghold in this country, the Norfolk 
Plover, and most wrongly and absurdly the 
Thick-Knee or Thick -Kneed Bustard — is 
usually classed among the Chamclriidse, but 
it offers several remarkable differences from 
the more normal Plovers. It is the Chara- ^ 

drius oedknemus of Linneeus, the C. scolopax Stone-Curlew. 

of Sam. Gottl. Gmelin, and the GEdicnemus ^^^^"^ Swainson.) 

crepitans of Temminck. With much the same cry as that of the 
Mmienii, only uttered in a far sweeter tone, it is as fully en- 
titled to the name of Curlew as the bird most commonly so 
called. In England it is almost solely a summer - visitor, 
though an example will occasionally linger throughout a mild 
-ttinter; and is one of the few birds whose distribution with 
us is affected by geological formation, since it is nearly limited to 
the chalk-country— the open spaces of which it haunts, and its 
numbers have of late years been sensibly diminished by their 
enclosure. The most barren spots in these districts, even where 
but a superficial coating of light sand and a thin growth of turf 
scarcely hide the chalk below, supply its needs ; though at night 
(and it chiefly feeds by night) it resorts to moister and more fertile 
places. Its food consists of snails, coleopterous insects, and earth- 
worms, but larger prey, as a mouse or a frog, is not rejected. 
Without making the slightest attempt at a nest, it lays its two 
eggs on a level spot, a bare fallow being often chosen. These are 
not very large, and in colour so closely resemble the sandy, flint- 
strewn surface that their detection except by a practised eye is 
difficult. The bird, too, trusts much to its own drab colouring to 
elude observation, and, on being disturbed, will frequently run for 
a considerable distance and then squat Avith outstretched neck so 
as to become almost invisible. In such a case it may be closely 
approached, and its large golden eye, if it do not pass for a tuft of 
yellow lichen, is perhaps the first thing that strikes the searcher. 
As autumn advances the Stone-Curlew gathers in large flocks, and 
then is as wary as its namesake. Towards October these take their 
departure, and their survivors return, often with wonderful con- 
stancy, to their beloved haunts (see Migration). In size this species 
exceeds any other European Plover, and looks even still larger than 
It is. The bill is short, blunt, and stout ; the head large, broad, 
and flat at the top. The wings and legs long — the latter present- 
ing a singular enlargement of the tibio-tarsal joint, whence the 
name CEdicnemus has been conferred. The toes are short and fleshy, 


and the hind-toe, as in most Charadriida}, is wanting. This Curlew 
seems to have been an especial favourite \vith Gilbert White, in 
whose classical writings mention of it is often made. Its range 
extends to North Africa and India, though examples ^ from^ the 
latter country have been regarded as requiring specific distinctions. 
Four other species of (Edicnemus from Africa are recognized by Mr. 
Seebohm {op. cit. p. 71). Australia possesses a very distinct species, 
ffi. grallarius, which some writers have raised to a genus Burhinus, 
and there are 3 species in the Neotropical Eegion, (E. histriatus, CE. 
dominicensis, and CE. superciliaois. The analogy of all these birds to 
the Otididx (Bustard), is manifest, but that they have any really 
close affinity to that Family is questionable. An exaggerated form 
of (Edicnemus is found in yEsacus, of which two species have been 
described, one ^. recurvirostris, from the Indian, and the other, yE. 
magnirostris, from the northern parts of the Australian Eegion. 

CUESOEES, an Order of Birds proposed by Illiger in 1811 
(Prodrom. Syst. Mammal, d Aviwn, pp. 246-250) to contain the 
genera Casuarius (Cassowary), Struthio (Ostrich), Ehea, Otis 
(Bustard), Charadrius (Plover), Calidris (Sanderling), Himantopus 
(Stilt), Hxmatopus (Oyster-catcher), Tachydromus { = Cursorius, 
Courser), and BurUnus (Stone- Curlew). Notwithstanding the 
obviously artificial nature of this group, several authors have 
accepted it, some entirely, but others with so many modifications 
that the meaning of the term has become quite indefinite. 

CUEUCUI, a Brazilian word adopted, through the French, by 
some English authors for the Trogons. ^ 

CUSHAT, a common name for the Eing-DoVE or Wood- 

CYPSELOMOEPH^, Prof. Huxley's name {Proc. Zool. Soc. 
1867, p. 468) for the group of ^githognath^ containing the . 
Families Caprimulgidx (Goatsucker), Cypselidx (Swift), and 
TrocUlidx (Humming-bird), which he considers to be "annectent 
forms between the Coracomorph^ and the Coccygomorph^." 



DABCHICK or DOBCHICK, the smallest and most common 
Em'opean species of Poclicipes, which has also a wide range in the 
Old World. It is the Little Grebe of books, and the Fodicijjes 
.flimaiilis or minor of modern ornithology. In most parts of Britain it 
resorts in spring to lakes or even small ponds, building there a nest 
of aquatic plants, collected in the pool it frequents, and either 
piled UY> from the bottom near the margin or resting on the 
grooving water-Aveeds themselves, while use is occasionally made of 
any branch of a tree that may have fallen into the water. In 
every case the mass of materials brought together is large compared 
mth the size of the bird, and is always in a moist condition, even 
to the upper part, Avhich is slightly hollowed out in the form of a 
cup to receive the seven or eight eggs that are therein laid. These, 
as is generally the case with those of other members of the Family, 
are symmetrical in form, there being little or no difference between 
the two ends, and have a chalky shell, which from being at first of 
a pure white are soon stained by the damp weeds forming the nest, 
some of which are carefully drawn over it by the parent whenever it is 
left, and even if she be too suddenly disturbed to make this possible, 
she will stealthily return at the first opportunity and cover them. 

Few birds have a greater faculty of escaping observation than 
this, and it often happens that a pair will frequent a small weedy 
pond, nigh unto a human habitation, and rear their young there, 
without their existence being detected, though they stay for the 
whole of a summer. In winter the greater part emigrate, and 
those that remain betake themselves to rivers, brooks, and ditches 
near the sea, which except in very hard frost are free from ice — 
using, as a last resort, the tidal waters. 

DACNIS, a genus established by Cuvier, Aidth the conspicuous 
blue and black Motacilla cayana of Linnaeus 
as its type, belonging to the Ca2reUda3. Four- 
teen species are recognized by Mr. Sclater ^ 
{Cat. B. Br. Mus. xi. pp. 18-27), and the skins 
of two or three of them, remarkable for their '^ Dacnis 

beautiful blue or bluish-green coloration, are (After Swainson.) 

among the commonest of those sent from South America. 

DAKER-HEN", an old and widely-spread name of the Land- 
Eail, referring, it is thought, to the unsteady flight of the bird, 
for to "dacker" (Frisian, dakkeru, M. Dutch, daeckeren), signifying 
to stagger, totter, or hesitate, is a well-known word in Lincolnshire, 



and perhaps in other districts (c/. Cordeaux, Zoologist, 1883, 
pp. 228, 229). 

DAER, a local name applied to some species of Tern. 

DAETER, see Snake-bird. 

DASSIE-V ANGER (Coney -catcher), the Dutch name for an 
Eagle in South Africa, adopted by English residents — the 
"Dassie" being Hyrax capensis (Layard, B. S. Africa, p. 11). 

DAW (Old Low Germ. Daha), doubtless from the bird's cry, as 
seems also to be the nickname " Jack " commonly prefixed.^ The 
Jackdaw, to use its vulgar and redundant name, is the smallest as 
it is, perhaps, the best known in Britain of the Corvidm (Crow) ; 
for, though much less numerous than the RooK, it inhabits the 
outskirts of even large to"\vns as well as the country ; and, from its 
diverting manners, and its aptitude for imitating the sounds it 
hears, is often kept in captivity more or less modified. In its 
natural state it differs from most of the Corvidie in the choice it 
makes of breeding-quarters, nearly always placing its nest in some 
hollow tree or convenient corner in a building — a church-tower 
(from its being seldom ascended) especially affording a secure posi- 
tion. It Avill equally make itself a home in a rabbit-burrow, a sea- 
girt cliff, or contrive to find a suitable receptacle for its progeny 
among the sticks that form the base of some huge Rook's nest 
which has been accumulating for years. Gamekeepers view it in 
great despite, for it is undoubtedly ready to rob the eggs of other 
birds when occasion off"ers ; but it is as omnivorous as a Rook in 
feeding, and there is scarcely a flock of that species that is not at- 
tended by more or fewer Daws, who act as the light company of 
the heavier regiment. The normal glossy black plumage of the 
Corvidx is in the Daw, when adult, diversified by its having the 
hinder part of the head of a delicate ashy -grey colour,- while 
examples from South-Eastern Europe and Asia Minor, having the 
nape of a silvery white, have been called C. coUaris, and further to 
the eastward the birds have not only the collar broader and of a 
pure white, but the lower parts of the body Avhite also. These 
belong to the species called by Pallas C. dauuricus. 

^ Perhaps the earliest instance of nicknaming birds is to be found in Lang- 
laud's Piers the Plowman, written soon after 1400, where the Spaiikow is called 
"Philip" ; but the practice, as all know, extended, and Swift in his Descrip- 
tion of a Salamander thus mentions it : — 

" As mastiff-dogs iu luodern phrase are 
Call'd Pompey, Scipio, and Caesar ; 
As pyes and daws are often stil'd 
With Christian nicknames like a child." 

- It is only the hinder part of the head that wears this light tint, a fact 
which renders improbable that the " russet-pated choxighs " of Shakcspear {Mids.- 
Kighi's Dream, Act iii. Sc. 2) were birds of this species (see Chough). 


DAYAL, or more correctly, it would seem, DHYAL (corrupted 
into Dial -bird ^\ the Hindostani name commonly adopted by 
Anglo-Indians for one of the loudest-voiced of their songsters, the 
G-raada saularis of Linnseus, and CopsycJms saularis of modern orni- 
thology, whose plumage, black and white in the male, made 
Edwards call it the "Little Indian Pye." In Nepal it is kept to 
exhibit its pugnacity, and a bird that will fight well is highly prized. 
Its other habits have been recognized by the best ornithologists as 
pointing to an alliance with the Saxicoline group of Turdidse 
(Theush) or Sylviidse. (Warbler), nevertheless a recent writer {Cat. 
B. Br. Mus. vii. p. 60) has plunged the genus Copsyclms into the 
cesspool Avhich he calls Timeliiclse, with the true members of which 
it has little in common. The number of species of the genus is 
doubtful ; but one is certainly peculiar to the Philippine Islands, 
and another to the Seychelles, while two are found (to say nothing 
of the barely separable Gervaisia) in Madagascar. Other forms are 
also very nearly allied to Copsychus, and among them may be men- 
tioned the African Cercotrichas, and Cittocinda of the Indian Region, 
of which C. tricolor, kno'^vn throughout India by its Hindostani 
name of Shdma, is a favourite song-bird, and deserves mention. 

DEMOISELLE, a name fancifully given by the French to 
several kinds of birds -; but the only sense in which it has been 
used (and that for nearly 200 years ^) by English writers is as 
applied to the Grus or Anthropoides '^ virgo, otherwise called the 
Numidian Crane, though it is only a winter visitant to any part of 
Africa ; the range of its breeding-haunts extending from the valley 
of the Lower Danube eastward through Southern Russia, Tui'kestan, 
and Siberia to China. Examples occasionally stray from its proper 
home and have occurred in Germany, Heligoland, and Sweden ; 
while two were seen, and one of them shot, in Orkney in May 1863 

^ This phonetic spelling has naturally given rise to a series of mistakes. First 
used by Albin in 1737 {Siqjpl. N. H. Birds, i. p. 17, pis. xvii. xviii.), it was sup- 
posed by Levaillant {Ois. d'Afr. iii. p. 50) to refer to the ordinary instrument for 
ascertaining the time of day, and by him was accordingly rendered Cadran. Sub- 
sequently Jerdon asserted {B. India, ii. p. 116), that Linnteus, thinking it had some 
connexion with a sun-dial, called it " Solaris, by lapsus i^cnnss, saularis." Herein 
Jerdon was misled, for the epithet applied by Linnteus is but the Latinized form of 
" Saulary," the name under which a cock and hen were sent from Madras by E. 
Buckley to Petiver, who first described the species (Ray, Synops. Meth. Avium, p. 197). 

^ Buffon, Hist. Nat. Oiseaux, iii. p. 247; v. p. 437, note, and vii. pp. 313-316. 

^ The Natural History of Animals . . . dissected by the Royal Academy oj 
Sciences at Paris (London : 1702, pp. 205 ct seqq.) 

* This name was given by Vieillot, following a misapprehension of the French 
Academicians, Du Veruay and Perrault, whose observations were translated in 
the work mentioned in the last note. On the questions arising out of the various 
names assigned to this species, see Bennett, Gardens and Menagerie of the Zoologi- 
cal Society, ii. pp. 231, 232. 


{Zoologist, p. 8692). It is considerably smaller than the ordinary 
Crane, G. communis, and has a long tuft of white feathers reaching 
backward behind each eye, while the black plumes of its breast and 
the grey inner secondaries are greatly elongated — the last especially. 

DENTIROSTRES, a group of Birds discriminated by Dum^ril 
in 1806 {Zool. Analyt. p. 41), composed of the genera (as then re- 
garded) Buceros (Hornbill), Momotus (Motmot), and Phytotoma 
(Plant-cutter), as having their bills scored with at least three 
notches (dentelures) ; but in 1817 used in a wholly different sense by 
Cuvier (Rhgn. Animal, p. 336), so as to contain Laniidx, Tanagridx, 
MuscicaiMm, Ampelidse [ = Cotingidse], Edolius, Turdidm, Pyrrliocora.x, 
OrioUdse, Myiothera, Cinclus, Fhiledon, Gracula, Mennra, Pipra, and 
Mofacilla ; and subsequently adopted with more or less modification 
by a great number of systematists. 

DERTRUM, the hook of the Bill. 

DESMODACTYLI, the name proposed by Forbes (Proc. Zool 
Sac. 1880, p. 390) for a group of Passeres, consisting oi the Eurylx- 
midse (Broadbill). 

DESMOGNATH^, Prof . Huxley's third Suborder of Carinat^, 
composed of seven groups — Chenomorph^, Amphimorph^e, 
Pelargomorph^, Dysporomorph^ Aetomorph^, Psittacomor- 
PH^, and CocCYGOMORPH^ — in all of which the vomer is often 
abortive or so small as to disappear; but, when existing, it is 
slender, and tapers anteriorly to a point, while the maxillo-palatals 
are united (whence the name of the Suboi^der) across the middle 
line, either directly or by the ossification of the nasal septum, and 
the posterior ends of the palatals and anterior of the pterygoids 
articulate directly "svith the rostrum. Moreover, the loAver larynx 
in these birds is never formed on the plan of the Passeres. It 
may be observed that nothing approaching to this association of 
the groups above named had ever before been proposed by any 
taxonomer {Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, pp. 435-448, 460-466). 

DEVIL-BIRD, a name applied by the English in Ceylon to a 
species of Owl, Strix or Syrnium indrani, as well as to a Goatsucker, 
Caprimidgiis Jcelaarti (Legge, B. Ceyl. pp. 155, 337). 
DEVILING, a common local name for the SwiFT. 
DHYAL or DIAL-BIRD, see Dayal. 

DIAMOND-BIRD, the name bestowed in Australia on the mem- 
bers of the genus Pardalotus founded in 1816 
by Vieillot {Analyse, p. 31), AAath Pipra punctata 
of Latham as its type, for which in our present 
ignorance it is hard to find a iilace. Gould 
] hAMOND-BiRD. ^ {Haudb. B. Austral, i. p. 156) put it with a 

mark of doubt under AmpelidiV, in whatever 

(After Swainson.) 


sense (and that is uncertain) he used the Avord. Dr. Sharpe {Cat. 
B. Br. Mils. X. pp. 3, 54: et seqq.) refers it to the Dicxidse — a group 
which, he says, "cannot be defined in exact terms" {tovii. cit. p. 2), 
and the genus Pardalotus is made to consist of 9 species. If this 
assignment be correct, the name of the Family should be changed, 
as the genus Pardalotus antedates Dic^UM, and, according to usage, 
the Family is called after the oldest genus it contains. 

DIAPHRAGM (Greek 8Ld(f>payjj.a), the transverse muscular 
partition below the heart and lungs and above the liver, stomach, 
and rest of the intestinal canal, fully developed in Mammals only. 
In Birds it is incomplete and rather differently arranged, consisting 
(1) of the pulmonary or transverse, and (2) of the abdominal or 
oblique portion. The first arises from the second to the sixth 
pairs of ribs near the lateral edge of the lungs, and spreads over 
their ventral surface as an aponeurotic membrane, while it is 
connected with the vertebral column as the median vertical septum ; 
completely separating the lungs and the cervical air-sacs from the 
rest of the thoraco-abdominal cavity. Small voluntary muscles 
arising from the ribs and from the sternum extend over part of the 
aponeurosis. The second or oblique half is entirely membranous 
without muscular fibres : it forms the continuation of the ventral 
margin of the vertical median septum, and is connected with the 
pericardium and with the medio-ventral portion of the sternum, 
while the rest extends obliquely through the abdominal cavity to 
the posterior and ventral margins of the sternum. The space thus 
enclosed is the subpulmonary chamber, divided into a right and a 
left half by the vertical septum. Three transverse septa divide 
again either half into four loculi, into each of which one of the three 
or four post- bronchial AiR-SACS extends from the lungs. Con- 
sequently the whole of the diaphragmatic membranes divide the 
entire thoraco-abdominal cavity into three chambers: (1) the 
Pulmonary chamber, anteriorly and dorsally from the pulmonary 
septum, containing the lungs and cervical air-sacs ; (2) the Sub- 
pulmonary chamber, anteriorly and ventrally from the oblique 
septum, and ventrally from the pulmonary septum, containing 
most of the air-sacs ; and (3) the Cardio- abdominal chamber, 
posteriorly from or below the oblique septum, containing the heart 
and the rest of the intestines. 

DICTUM, a group differentiated by Cuvier in 1817 {B}gne 
Anim. i. p. 410) for the Certhia cruentata of Linnaeus 
and its allies, several of which inhabit India, and 
one of them — D. hiriindinaceum — Australia, in which 
country the scientific name has been accepted as dic.«uji. 

English (Gould, Handh. B. Austral, i. p. 581). The (After Swainson.) 
group has since been recognized as entitled not only to generic rank, 


and subdivided into several sections or genera, but has been of late 
advanced to the dignity of a Family, Dicxidse, for which much might 
be said ; but several forms have at the same time been erroneously 
referred to it (Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. x. pp. 9-84) — among them 
the Diamond-birds above mentioned. The Dicseidx range from 
Nepal through India (where they have been called, but seemingly 
without reason, Flower-pickers) and the Malay Archipelago to 
China and Australia ; but to this Family have been referred a good 
many forms which Dr. Gadow's researches prove to have no near 
relationship to Dicseum proper. 

DICK-CISSEL, the nickname familiarly applied to the Black- 
throated Bunting of writers, Sj)iza or Euspiza americana, a species 
whose recent disappearance from localities which it formerly fre- 
quented has not yet been explained by North-American ornitholo- 
gists (c/. H. M. Smnth, Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. xiii. p. 171). 

DIDAPPER or DIVED APPER, an old name (c/. Shakespear, 
Venus and Adonis, line 86) for the Dabchick or Little Grebe. 

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM. This consists chiefly of the Ali- 
mentary Canal and its glandular appendages, the former, beginning 
Avith the Mouth, is successively made up of the QllsoPHAGUS, the 
Stomach, the small intestine or "ileum," and the large intestine 
or " rectum " (with the C^CA when present), which last opens into 
the Cloaca. The glandular appendages are either proventricular 
and other mucous glands, imbedded in the walls of the Canal, or 
salivary glands, Liver, and Pancreas, communicating with it 
through special ducts. The function of the System is of two 
separate kinds : first the preparation of the food, which is effected 
in part mechanically and in part by chemically -acting secretions 
of the accessory glands ; and secondly the absorption of the 
" chyle," or prepared nutritive fluid, by means of the LYMPHATIC 

The digestive process is as follows : — The food taken into the 
mouth is swallowed and passes through the oesophagus into the 
stomach, assisted in its descent by the secretions of the salivary 
and mucous glands. When there is a Crop, it is therein mixed 
Avith saliva and Avater, and assisted by the heat of the body is 
softened and acted upon in a preliminary way. It then enters the 
stomach, where it meets with the secretions of the proventricular or 
gastric glands. But beside being acted upon chemically it is 
crushed and triturated in the gizzard, especially in graminivorous 
and granivorous birds, Avhich possess a strong muscular stomach. 
Thus comminuted it is known as " chyme," and passes through the 
pylorus into the small intestine, in the first looj) of Avhich, the 
" duodenum," it is mixed Avith the bile and pancreatic juice, these 


two fluids being the secretions of the liver and the pancreas. 
Their principal action is to convert its soluble parts into 
"peptones," which are to be convej^ed into the Lymphatic System, 
and so into the Blood. Their absorption as chyle is eflected by 
numerous " villi " or projections which line the Avails of the whole 
Canal from the pylorus to the cloaca. At the beginning of the 
rectum the cseca, when such are functional, receive the remaining 
chyme, and it is probable that in them certain hitherto undissolved 
matter, as cellulose and possibly chitin, is acted upon by marsh- 
gas, so as to extract as much nutrition as possible from the 
food. After remaining a due time in the caeca, their contents 
return into the rectum, and are finally ejected through the cloaca 
as fxces. 

The walls of the Alimentary Canal are composed oi five layers, 
of which the innermost only is of " endodermal " origin, the rest 
being "mesodermal" (see Embryology). These layei-s are: (1) 
the tunica serosa or adventitia, which is outermost and consists of 
partly elastic connective tissue ; (2) a layer of smooth muscular 
fibres, transversely or circularly arranged ; (3) one of smooth 
muscular fibres, longitudinally arranged ; (4) the tunica submucosa 
of loose connective tissue, which contains nerves, blood, and 
lymphatic vessels ; and (5) the tunica mucosa or innermost lining, 
composed of epithelial cells, which give rise to mucous and various 
specific digestive glands. It is noteworthy that Birds and Eeptiles 
differ from Mammals in the succession of the two muscular layers 
(2 and 3), since in the last the circular fibres are placed on the 
inside, next to the submucosa (4), Avhile the longitudinal fibres 
together with the serosa (1) form the outer wall. These layers 
vary considerably in the different parts of the Alimentary Canal ; 
thus the thickening of the walls of the gizzard is due to the 
excessive development of the muscular layers, while in the 
oesophagus the mucosa is represented chiefly by ordinary epithelial 
cells, comparatively few of which form simple mucous glands, 
though in the region of the proventriculus its cells are transformed 
into large glands, often closely packed and compressed, constituting 
the greater part of the thickened walls. Again, in the gizzard no 
such specific, but only mucous glands occur, the hardened secretion 
of which invests its cavity with an additional cuticular lining. 
Both the small and large intestines are characterized by numerous 
vilH, protruding into the canal as excrescences of the two innermost 
layers, and absorbing the prepared nutritive fluid. Beside the 
ordinary mucous glands the mucosa gives rise to two masses of 
specific nature which as Liver and Pancreas grow out of the 
walls of the duodenum, and thus indicate their point of origin only 
by their respective ducts. 

The intestine, or gut proper, begins at the pyloric end of the 


stomach and ends at the cloaca. It may be conveniently divided 
into (1) the duodenum or first loop, (2) the ileum or narrowest and 
longest portion, equivalent to both the jejunum and ileum of man, 
and lastly (3) the rectum, corresponding Avith his large intestine. 
The transition from the ileum to the rectum is marked by a more 
or less circular valve (the " ileo-csecal "), so placed as to permit its 
contents to pass into the caeca and rectum, but to hinder their 
return — their passage throughout the whole intestine being aided by 
the peristaltic contractions of the muscular layers of its walls. An 
epithelium of cylindrical cells, forming a colourless, structureless 
and soft cuticle, lines nearly the whole of the intestine, and is 

Diagram of the Digestive Orgaks of a Bird. 
r. Tongue; P.G.L.G. Parotid and salivary glands; Tr. Trachea; I.Br. r.Br. left and right 
bronchus ; Cr. Crop ; Pr. Proventriculus or glandular stomach ; g. Gizzard or muscular stomach ; 
Py. Pylorus ; D. Duodenum ; L. Liver with gall-bladder and duct ; Pa. Pancreas with duct ; 
C. Caeca ; R. Rectum ; K. Kidney with Ureter opening into the middle cloacal chamber. 

perforated by numerous small pores, opening upon their interstices. 
In many parts these cells form very simj^le and sometimes tubular 
glands (" Lieberkiihn's "), and the greater portion of the walls is 
beset with the villi mentioned above. These are very numerous, 
and are arranged in various ways — being either uniformly and 
thickly spread over the surface, giving it a velvety appearance, or 
are longer and more sparingly distributed in lines, which may be 
straight or zigzag, transverse or longitudinal. Their arrangement 
is occasionally characteristic of different groups of birds ; Imt it 
varies also in different parts of the gut. As a rule they arc largest 
and most numerous in the duodenum, but sometimes in the rectum 



as well. The structure of these small but important organs will be 
best understood by reference to the accompanying figure. Each 
villus consists of a finger-shaped prolongation of the tissue of the 
submucosa, which contains a ramified central canal conveying the 
collected chyle into the lymphatic vessels, which are frequently 
connected Avith a lymphatic follicle for the production of white 
BLOOD -corpuscles or lymph-cells. A pair of small arteries and 
veins enter the villus, forming a capillary network, while fine 
unstriped muscles in its walls contract it and force the chyle into 
the lymphatic vessels. In the figure, on one side of the villus is 
shewn a Lieberkiihn's gland, since such are generally associated 
with the villi. 

Fig. 1. 

Fig. 2. 

Fig. 1. — Diagram of an Intestinal Villus with the Central Absorbent, Ramified Canal. 
L.v. its duct ; A and v, Artery and vein ascending in Sm. the submucous layer ; E. Cylindrical 
cells of the epithelium of the mucous layer, which at L.G. forms a Lieberkiihn gland ; Lg. and 
An. Longitudinal and annular or circular muscular fibres ; .S'c Serosa or outer layer of connective 
tissue, together with the investing peritoneal lamella Pe., which forms tlie mesentery il/. in Fig. 2. 

Fio. 2. — Diagram of a Transverse Section through the Intestine. 
V. Villi ; M. Mesentery with blood- and lymphatic vessels. 

The capacity of the Intestinal Canal depends upon the nature 
of the bird's food. In order to compare its length in different 
forms we require a unit by which to arrive at its relative propor- 
tions. The length of the whole vertebral column, or even the dis- 
tance from the tip of the bill to that of the tail, has been 
frequently used ; but this gives only faulty results, since the 
length of the neck is obviously not correlated with that of the intes- 
tine. Numerous measurements and comparisons have led me to 
adopt as the unit the distance from the first thoracic vertebra (i.e. 
from the root of the neck) to the anus, and thus the quotient of 
the absolute length of the intestine from the pylorus to the anus is 
the relative length of the gut. This relative length is very con- 
stant in a species, and often gives results of considerable taxo- 
nomic value. Of course " short-gutted " and " long-gutted " are 



arbitrary expressions ; but, if we assume that a relative length not 
exceeding 5 indicates a short, and one of more than 8 a long gut, 
Ave find that the Intestinal Canal is very short in all purely frugi- 
vorous and insectivorous birds, while it is very long in those which 
live upon fishes, carrion, grain, and grass. It must, however, be 
remarked that, according to the nature of the food, a short intes- 
tinal canal is often compensated by its width either wholly or in 
part, as of the rectum, or by the presence of large cseca. Conse- 
quently all these points have to be considered in using the features 
of the intestine for taxonomic purposes. Ceteris paribus, the rela- 
tive length of the canal is as good a character as many others, and 
occasionally by it alone closely -allied species can be determined. 
The subjoined table shews the measiurements of the intestine in a 
few forms ; but for fuller information the reader may be referred 
to (Bronn's) Kl. & Ordn. Thier-E. Fogel, pp. 590-661 and 700, where 
the respective measurements of nearly 400 birds wiU be found. 

Sti'uthio camelus . 
Castiarius indicus . 
Spheniscus minor . 
Anser cinereus, var. dom 
Procellaria leaclii . 
Ardea cinerea . 
Gallus bankiva, var. dom 
Syrrhaptes paradoxiis . 
Columba livia, var. dom 
Pandion lialiaetus . . 
Astur palumbarius . . 
Coiythaix persa. . 
Cypselus apus . . 
Corvus corax 
Manucodia atra . 
Passer domesticus . . 

Absolute Length 


1 Caecum. Kectum. 




















Length of 

Intestinal Canal. 

Absolute Kelative 





























In early embryonic stages the Intestinal Canal is a straight 
tube ; but, as its growth proceeds far more rapidly than that of the 
body-cavity, it is necessarily thrown into folds or loops. Moreover, 
since it is suspended from the vertebral column by the mesentery, or 
lining of the body-cavity, its several folds are thereby connected 
with one another in various ways, and their number and shape 
depend to a great extent upon the space available in the cavity, as 
well as upon the shape, size, and position of the stomach and 
neighbouring organs ; but the various ways in which the small in- 
testine is stowed away in different birds exhibit types so definite 
and constant that they cannot be considered accidental or meaning- 
less features. On the contrary, a somewhat exhaustive study of its 


convolutions reveals their taxonomic value, and enables me to say 
that the Digestive System, taken in its entirety — that is to say, 
the crop, glandular and muscular stomach, liver, gall-bladder Avith 
its ducts, cseca, and the relative length and convolutions of the in- 
testinal canal — aflfords more diagnostic features than any other 
organic system — the osseous excepted. Moreover, it has the great 
advantage that through reference to the food we can in many cases 
account for the aberrant features of the digestive organs displayed 
by birds otherwise closely allied. So much cannot be said for char- 
acters furnished by Pterylosis, and attempts to explain taxonomic- 
ally the more important differences observable in the MUSCULAR 
System have hitherto been futile because of the complex problems 
involved. At any rate, we ought not to treat recent birds as if 
they were fossil and had left us nothing but their bones, unless, 
indeed, the specimens be skinned and all their other important char- 
acters thrown away. 

It is hoped therefore that a brief general account, condensed 
from a paper in the Zoological Proceedings for 1889 (pp. 303-316), 
of the chief types of intestinal structure in birds may here have 
interest, especially as, with the exception of Cuvier, British Ana- 
tomists only^ have treated the subject, and since the days of 
Macgillivray, who alone attempted it systematically, this branch 
of Ornithotomy has been neglected, perhaps from the apparent but 
not real difficulty of studying these easily-putrefying organs. 

In a typical loop of the intestines of a bird we distinguish 
between a descending and an ascending branch ; both meet at the 
distal end or apex of the loop, and this forms its turning-point. 
The starting-point is the pylorus, the goal the cloaca. Each loop 
is either closed or open. It is closed when both the descending 
and the ascending branches are throughout the length of the loop 
closely bound together by an extension of the mesentery and its 
vessels. Of these vessels, as a rule, each principal loop receives 
one bigger branch from the middle mesenteric artery. A loop is 
open when its two branches are not closely connected by mesentery 
and vessels ; the mesentery is wider, and the two branches of the 
loop may receive another loop or intestinal fold between them, the 
latter then resting upon the mesentery of the former open loop. 

The duodenum is always a typically-closed loop. Its first or 

^ E. Home, The course of the intestine with the varieties in the form of the 
cseca in carnivorous, piscivorous, and granivorous birds, Phil. Trans, 1814. G. 
Cuvier, Legons d'anatomie comparde, ed. 2, 1835. K. Owen, Todd's Cyclopedia 
of Anatomy and Physiology, article " Aves," 1836. "W. Macgillivray, "Obser- 
vations on the Digestive Organs of Birds," Hag. Zool. and Bat. 1837. Occasional 
notes on the intestinal canal are extremely numerous, among others by Burton, 
Crisp, Duvernay, Forbes, Garrod, Jobert, Leuckart, L'Herminier, Martin, Nitzsch, 
Pavesi, Perrin, and Yarrell. 



descending branch lies, when viewed from the ventral side, to the 
right of the second or ascending branch ; both invariably enclose 
the Pancreas. 

A loop which runs in the same way as the duodenum may be 
termed right-handed, and one running in the opposite way is left- 
handed, i.e. its descending branch lies to the left of the ascending 
branch. Again, if the intestine forms a number of (mostly closed) 
loops, which run parallel Avith each other in the long axis of the 
body, we term this arrangement orthoccelous, or straight-gutted. 

Diagrammatic Eepresentation of the principal relative positions or th? Intestinal 

Loops when seen from the right side. 
a. Isoccelous. b. Anticalous. c. Anti-Periccelous. d. Iso-Pericoelous. 

e. Cyclocrelous. /, g. Plagiocoelous. h. Telogyrous. 

The descending branches of the loops are marked by black lines, the ascending or return- 
ing branches are dotted. 

The first and third loops in fig. 6 are " right-handed," the second is "left-handed " ; in fig. c 
the second is "left-," the third " right-handed," etc. 

(From the Proceedings of the Zoological Society, 1SS9.) 

If, on the other hand, some of the loops form a spiral, avc dis- 
tinguish this formation as cycloralous. 

Of the orthocQilous type the following modifications deserve espe- 
cial remark with reference to the second and third loops ; the first, 
or duodenal, loop is invariably right-handed, and therefore needs 
no further comment. 

I. Isoccehnis. — The second and third, and, if present, also the 
fourth loo]) are all closed and left-handed. The second is most 
dorsally situated, the third to the right of it, the fourth to the 


right of the latter, between it and the duodenum. The ascending 
branch of one loop runs side by side with the descending branch of 
the next following one. 

II. Anticce.lous. — The second and third loops are closed and 
sharply alternating ; the second is left-, the third is right-handed ; 
the second lies dorsally, consec|uently its ascending branch runs side 
by side with that of the third. 

III. Plagiocoelous. — The second and often more loops are doubled 
Or turned over with the apices like a horseshoe, giving the loops, 
which are generally open, an irregular or convoluted appearance. 

IV. Periccelous. — The second loop is left-handed, open, and 
encloses the third which is generally straight and closed. This 
formation is of especial interest, because it leads quite gradually to 

V. Cydocoelous formation by the conversion of the second and 
third loops into one left-handed spiral. Such a conversion of the 
second and third loops into a spiral occurs in the Limicolse, Laridm, 
and Columhse. Each of these families possesses some genera in which 
the spiral is still represented by long, oval, concentric turns, and 
even some genera which still exhibit the periccelous type with the 
two loops in question still separate, distinct, and more or less 

Not every spiral, however, is formed by the concentration of 
two loops. In many instances a spiral is produced by one loop 
being curled upon itself, its apex then forming the centre of the 
spiral. To the apex is attached the diverticulum csecum vitelli ; 
this shews that this spiral is produced by the primitive fold of the 
embryonic mid-gut. 

Such is the case in all the Passeres, and since there are only 
three folds formed by the whole gut, the spiral represents the 
middle or second fold ; hence this arrangement may be distinguished 
as mesogyroiis. The number of turns in such a spiral depends 
directly upon the length of the intestine ; while in the short-gutted 
Sylvise the spiral is just indicated, there are in the Sparrow (with 
an intestinal length of 21 cm.) 1| direct and 1 retrograde turn, 
and in Pinicola enudeator (which possesses an intestine of 99 
cm. in length) there are many direct turns. 

It is clear that with an original number of only four loops, the 
conversion of the two middle ones into a single spiral will cause 
such birds as certain Limicolse, Laridx, and Cahimhai likewise to 
assume the mesogyrous feature ; but the position of the diverticle 
on the original third loop, and the relations of these birds, e.g. 
Charadrius and Sterna, shew that this mesogyrous formation has 
been brought about in a way different from that of the Passeres. 

Lastly, the distal portion of any loop originally straight may be 
coiled up into a spiral, while the rest of the loop remains straight. 


This feature may be termed telogyrous. With the duodenum this is 
very rare, it then invariably forms a right-handed spiral, e.g. in 
Biiceros, Ciconia, and Milvus ; the duodenum is more irregularly 
twisted in certain Pelargi and Accipitres. The ends of the second, 
third, and fourth loops are never coiled into a regular spiral, but 
rather form irregularly coiled masses, in many Pelargi, Accipitres, 
and in the Fsittaci. 

We see, then, that the cyclocoelous (meso- or telogyrous) feature 
by itself cannot be taken as a character which indicates the affinity 
of the larger groups or Orders of Birds, unless we take the mode 
of development of these concentric convolutions into consideration. 
In fact, the cyclocoelus formation is the highest mode of stowing 
in the smallest compass that portion of the gut which had to be 
increased in length, the relative length of the mid-gut being 
dependent upon the nature and composition of the food. In strictly 
orthocoelous birds the increased length of the gut causes the formation 
of secondary folds anywhere between the previously existing loops, 
whereby frequently a very irregular arrangement of all the convolu- 
tions is caused. A similar process has produced the plagiocoelous 
feature (fig. /), which was probably derived from an orthocoelous 

The highest and perhaps newest mode of stowing an increased 
amount of intestinal length is that in which one of the folds already 
existing is lengthened and, owing to its interstitial growth, turns 
into a spiral ; in this way the other loops mil undergo the least 
possible disturbance. 

It is not necessary to give here a long and detailed enumeration 
and description of the intestinal convolutions as they occur in the 
numerous Orders and Families of birds, because this has been done 

Secondary shortening and widening of the gut (oAving to the 
assumption of frugivorous habits) may reduce the number of loops, 
and may render the original arrangement quite untraceable, as in 
CarpopJiaga, PJiamphastus, and Manucodia. When a bird has acquired 
strictly piscivorous habits, the gut is considerably lengthened and 
narrowed and may, as in Panclion and in Haliaetus, render the old 
formation quite unrecognizable. These are, however, exceptions, 
which are not numerous ; as a rule the lengthening of the pre- 
existing loops and the additional intercalation of new ones does not 
disturb the typical formation, but rather throws interesting lights 
upon the lines of new departure along which certain birds have 
liccomc devcIo})ed, e.g. the Alcedinidiv. from a Coraciine stock, now 
modified through the acquisition of carnivorous and piscivorous 

^ Jcnaviche Zeitschrift f. Naturwiss, xiii. pp. 92-117, 339-403, pis. iv.-ix. and 
xvi. ; /'. Z. S. 1889, pp. 303-31(3, pi. xxxii. ; Bronn's Thierrcich. 


All the Piatitse agree in having the second loop right-handed, 
and the third left-handed ; this is a feature which occurs again only 
in the Crypturi, Gallinx, Opisthocomus, and in the Cuculidse. More- 
over, as mth the exception of the duodenum none of the loops are 
closed and well defined, the Ecditse represent in this respect the 
lowest avine type. 

The Galling form a well-defined group ; lowest among them 
stand the Neotropical Craddse, through which they lead towards 
the Crypturi. The Gallinse have also an unmistakable resem- 
hlance to Opisthocomus and thence to the Cuculidse. 

The Twnices, to which belongs undoubtedly Pedionomus, are 
traceable to a Ralline or low Gralline stock, with assumed 
plagiocoelous characters of the second loop. 

The pericoelous assemblage is large. It is typically represented 
by the Waders, of which the Limicolx and the Picdlidm form the 
principal groups. 

The Picdlidse with Otis and Grus are connected with the Turnices, 
more distantly with the Crypturi, and still more so with Apteryx. 
Dicliolophus is in all points a Gruine form, like Psophia, and cannot 
be separated from them. Ehinochetus contains Ealline, Limicoline, 
and Ibis-like features ; the only bird which it resembles somewhat 
closely in its very peculiar intestinal convolutions is Podica. 

The Limicolx agree with the Laridx, and also with the Columhx 
in all essential points. Each of these three groups contains a number 
of forms which lead in an unbroken series from the typically peri- 
coelous birds with four alternating loops to the typically mesogyrous 
birds. Most Columbx and Laridse are mesogyrous, but Sterna and 
its allies represent pericoelous or lower forms. Neither granivorous, 
nor insectivorous, nor piscivorous habits have exerted any appreciable 
influence upon their intestinal convolutions, although of course the 
stomach and the caeca are afiected. The presence of the crop of the 
Colwmbse, is repeated in the granivorous Limicoline genera Attagis 
and Thinocwys. 

Numenius approaches in various ways the Ibises, whence a con- 
tinuous line can be traced into Platcdea and Phcenicopterus on the one 
hand and into the Pelargi proper on the other. 

Rather different from the Limicolx are the PteroclidR'. They 
have four loops, which are all closed, left-handed, i.e. isocoelous, and 
straight ; the second and fourth loops have their apices turned back, 
and especially the terminal end of the second resembles somewhat a 
plagiocoelous formation. The Pterodidx have consequently various 
points in common with the Rallidse, Limicolx, and Columhse. 

The Alcidm are pericoelous and strictly orthocoelous ; they agree 
with the Laro-Limicolse in the configuration of their first three loops, 
but they differ from them in the number of loops, which is at least 
six, the last three of which are left-handed. They approach in this 


respect tlie Pygopodes. These [Colymbidse and Podicipedidse) shew 
unmistakable affinities A^dth what may be called generalized or low 
Gralline forms ; their four or five loops are closed, orthocoelous, and 
alternating. The Pygopodes connect the large assemblage of the 
Waders with the following congregation, of which the Herodii, 
Steganopodes, Tubinares, and Spheniscidse are all divergent types. A 
very close connexion exists between the Herodii and the Steganopodes, 
and this is supported by numerous other characters. The Tubinares 
are in more than one respect the most specialized outcome of this 
great collective Order, and reach in the typically mesogyrous 
Procellariinse their highest development. 

The Spheniscidse are very specialized. They possess undeniable 
characters in common with the Pygopodes, Steganopodes, and Tubinares ; 
they are on the whole orthocoelous, but the extreme length of their 
gut thro^^Ti into numerous straight and oblique, or quite irregular, 
convolutions renders comparison very difficult. 

The Anseres, to which belongs Palamedea as a probably very old 
member, are all orthocoelous and combine peri- and plagiocoelous 
characters in their second loop. The five or six principal loops are 
alternating ; the last four are closed and straight. As typically 
orthocoelous, aquatic birds, and as Prsecoces they agree "with the 
Pygopodes, and the root of the stock of the Anseres has to be looked 
for in this direction alone. 

The Pelargi, containing the Hemiglottides (Ibis and Platalea), 
Phmiicopterus, and the Ciconix, are rather diverging forms, which can 
be characterized as possessing four very long and mostly closed loops 
(mth occasional secondary loops intercalated), of Avhich the first three 
have a tendency to coil their apical ends into more or less irregular 
spirals : this leads sometimes to an almost mesogyrous formation. 

The Hemiglottides approach nearest to the Limicolse, although 
their points of resemblance with Numenius may possibly be cases of 
convergence only. Very closely allied to, in fact inseparable from 
the Hemiglottides, and connecting them with Tantalus, and thus Avith 
the Ciconise proper, is Phcenicopterus ; there is not one single feature 
in the whole of the Digestive System in which this bird ditters from 
the Pelargi or resembles the Anseres except in the presence of small 
but functional caeca, which are nearly lost in the Pelargi. But 
these cseca stand in direct relation to the food of the Flamingoes, 
which consists of the confervas in the mud of the lagoons. The 
zoophagous Pelargi have lost them, the phytophagous Flamingoes 
have preserved them. 

The Ciconiinx proper, represented by Ciconia, and connected with 
the former genera by Tantalus, are essentially telogyrous ; their second 
loop is right-handed, and accompanies the duodenum ; this is a rare 
feature, and is of taxonomic value for the diagnosis of the subfamilies 
of the Pelargi. 


The Pelargi are often classed with the Herodii, but these tAYo 
Families differ from each other in almost every point of primary 

There are also certain resemblances between the Pelargi and the 
Accipitres, the chief connexion is formed by the telogyrous character, 
the mode in which additional loops of the lengthened gut are stowed 
away, and the tendency to convert some or one of the principal 
loops into regular spirals. Among the Accipitres, the Old- World 
Vultures especially exhibit striking Ciconiine similarities. As 
regards the Cathartidse, I have to deplore want of material. 

The Psittaci are distinctly telogyrous ; all their five principal 
loops are closed and alternating ; this, with the presence of a crop, 
and the absence of functional cseca, are features which occur again 
together only in the Accipitres. The absolutely vegetable food of 
the Parrots would sufficiently account for the differences which exist 
between them and the entirely zoophagous Acdpiitres. However, 
this indication of a possible relationship between the Birds-of-Prey 
and Parrots is as little binding or satisfactory as other suggestions 
based upon other organic systems. 

Of the Coccyges the Cucididx possess four intestinal loops, of 
which the first and second are right-handed. The loops are on the 
Avhole orthocoelous, but the apices of the tAvo middle ones are often 
turned up, or the second loop is plagiocoelous. Moreover, they 
possess fully-developed cseca. In all these respects they resemble 
to a great extent the Gallinse ; and this hint is considerably 
strengthened by Opisthocomus, which is, barring special features, 
exactly intermediate betAveen the Cucidida3 and the Gallinse. The 
MiLsopliagidx seem to possess but three loops, the original second 
loop having been suppressed in connexion AAdth the frugivorous 
habits of these birds. The isocoelous feature of the Musophagidai is 
therefore reduced to a secondarily acquired one, and to a case of 
convergence towards the typically isoccelous birds. 

The Pici (PicidcB, Capitonidse, and Ehamphastidie) differ, like the 
Epjopes {Bucerotidm, and Upiipidse), from all the remaining birds in 
the alternating position of their four loops, which in the frugivorous 
Phampliasticlse, as Avell as in the extremely short-gutted genus Upupa, 
are reduced to three by the suppression of the original second loop. 
Xantholsema, one of the Cajntonidx, has this second loop still indicated. 
The total absence of cseca in all these birds is a coincidence, Avhile 
there are no obvious characters, besides the anticoelous convolutions, 
which point to a close relationship betAveen the Pici and the Epopes. 

The remaining birds are all isocoelous. Of them the Cm'aciidm 
stand nearest to the hypothetical ancestral or central stock, because 
they are the most generalized group, from AAdiich all others can be 
derived. The Alcedvnidm, AAdiich have reached a truly mesogyrous 
formation, started in one direction from or out of the Coraciidx. 

148 D IKK OP 

The lengthened gut of the Kingfishers in conformity Avith their 
generally piscivorous habits, forms a left-handed spiral by its second 
loop, while the fourth loop is long, and in the more piscivorous 
members widely open and irregularly placed. The afiinity between 
the Goradidse and the Alcedinidx in opposition to other groups may 
be expressed by the term Halajones. 

The Striges verge towards the plagiocoelous type, but all their 
affinities rest with the Coraciidse and Capriinidgidse combined. These 
three Families possess long caeca ; the Alcedinidse, Cypselidse, and 
Trochilidx, have lost them, the first of these because of their 
piscivorous and cancrivorous habits. 

The CypselomorpJiEe (Caprimulgidse, Cypselidm, and Trochilidse) 
agree very much with each other. They all have only three 
intestinal loops, which are short, in agreement with their principally 
insectivorous habits. The Trochilidx differ in the possession of a 
crop. The Cypselidx and Caprimidgidse are somewhat more closely 
related to each other, and the latter (including Podargus) turn 
toAvards the Owls. The Cypselidse are sometimes supposed to be 
somewhat nearly allied to the Passeres. Their alimentary system 
does not altogether favour such a view ; but perhaps the ancestors 
of Golius once filled this gap, leaving their existing descendants 
noAv in a solitary position. 

The Trogonidai stand on a lower level than the Cypselidse, 
Trochilidse, and Coliidse, on the same level as the Caprimulgidai and 
Cffraciidse, and connect them all with each other. The Trogons still 
possess Avell-developed caeca like the Coradidm, Caprimidgidai, and 
Striges, Avhile all the other isocoelous birds have lost them, or have 
only functionless remnants of them. 

The Passeres are a very uniform group. They all possess only 
three loops, Avithout indications of more ; the second and third are 
left-handed ; the second becomes a left-handed spiral, the turns of 
which depend upon the length of the gut ; the third loop is ahvays 
open, and invariably encloses the duodenum between its descend- 
ing and ascending branches, the latter branch being situated on the 
ventral and left side of the descending branch of the duodenum. 
This arrangement is invariably the same, even in the Meso- 
myodians, and in such otherAvise aberrant forms as Evpicola and 
Pitta. There is a special line Avhich leads from the Laniine forms 
through the Austrocoraces (Gymnorhiaa, Gh'aucalus, Strepera, and Para- 
diseida}) into the Coraces proper, Avhich latter have produced some 
special modifications of the intestinal convolutions, and may be 
looked upon as the last and highest blossom of the avine tree. 

DIKKOP (Thick-head), the Dutch name for the Stone-CURLEW 
of South Africa, (Pldicnemus capensis, used also by the English in that 
part of the world (Layard, B. S. Afr. p. 288). 


DIMORPHISM, a term originally used by botanists to express 
the fact that in certain plants a difference, whether in form or colour, 
more or less considerable, exists between individuals belonging to 
the same species, this difference not being attributed to local influ- 
ence or of the kind called accidental, but yet one that is constantly 
exhibited. As analogous cases are observable in animals, the term 
has been adopted by zoologists, and, disregarding other classes, it 
will be at once perceived that among Birds there are two kinds of 
Dimorphism — -one depending upon sex, in which the secondary 
sexual characters of the male and female may differ in very many 
ways, and the other which is apparently quite independent of 
sexual distinction. Of this last kind, which seems to approach 
most nearly to the Dimorphism of botanists, there are not many 
undisputed instances. The best known is that of some species of 
Skua, in which a parti -coloured bird may be frequently found 
mated with one that is (so to speak) whole-coloured — in some cases 
the former being the male, the latter the female, and in others just 
the contrary, it rarely happening that both partners are alike in 
plumage. A similar state of things occurs on the confines of the 
districts respectively occupied by the Black and Grey Crows of 
the Old World, but here we are met by the difficulty that some 
ornithologists consider these two forms to be distinct species, and 
the produce of their union to be hybrids. The White-eyed and 
Dark-eyed Crows of Australia present a phase intermediate between 
that last mentioned and the fii-st ; for, though some writers have 
regarded them as distinct species, locality seems to have no influ- 
ence on the difference, comparatively slight as it is, observable 
between them. Another case more resembling the first is that 
afforded by the Guillemot, for at neai-ly every one of its breeding- 
resorts a portion of the tenants (perhaps one in a score) will be 
found to have a white circle round the eye and a white line stretch- 
ing backward from it — these 'Kinged or Bridled Guillemots being 
of either sex and apparently paired with birds of normal plumage, 
while no example is known which shews any intermediate condi- 
tion.^ All these are instances in which Dimorphism is confined 
to colour, but it may well be regarded as extending also to size, 
though here we again meet with the objection that numerous 
writers regard the smaller or larger forms as constituting two local 
races if not species. The Dunlin furnishes us with an instance of 
this kind. Ranging throughout the Old Woi-ld, but in far fewer 

^ At one time these Ringed or Bridled Guillemots were looked upon as a 
distinct species, called Uria lacrymans, but that view has of late been M'holly 
abandoned. Similarly the dark, whole-coloured examples of the common species 
of Skua were originally described as forming a separate species, Lcstris riclmrd- 
soni, but though the name has by many writers been mistakenly retained none 
now believe the birds to be distinct. 


numbers than the ordinary form, Tringa, alpina, is a smaller one 
which has received the specific name of T. schin.zi, while in the 
New World our common T. alpina is comparatively scarce, and a 
larger form, the T. americana of some authors, is the more abundant. 
It is difficult to determine at present whether this is a case of local 
races or one of Dimorphism — though here Trimorphism might be 
the more proper word. 

Among birds examples of sexual Dimorphism are so numerous 
as to make it almost the rule. Yet, as already stated and as is 
widely known, this kind of Dimorphism manifests itself in very 
many ways — the commonest being that of general coloration, in- 
stances of which will occur to every one; but apart from that the 
coloration of particular parts is scarcely less often divergent in the 
two sexes, while differences of the form or development of certain 
portions of the plumage are also very abundant, as witness the 
occipital plumes in the male of many birds, while the extraordinary 
elongation of the feathers of the lower back in the PEACOCK, of 
those on the side of the breast in the Bird of Paradise, or of the 
tail in the BLACKCOCK are notorious. Passing to characters which 
may be of greater significance, we have spurs on the metatarsus or 
near the wrist, the former only among the Gallium, but the latter 
found in birds of several groups that are not nearly allied. These 
are generally and justly admitted to be weapons, and hardly less 
effective are the knobs which occupy the like position in other 
forms, those of the male Pezophaps being perhaps the most remark- 
able. Sexual Dimorphism of the Bill has been already noticed, 
and it extends in various ways to the head, wattles, frontal plates, 
protuberances that are permanent or only temporarily erectile, which 
are far too numerous to mention ; but other much more special 
peculiarities are the sublingual bag of Biziiira lobata, the seasonal 
pouch of the Bustard, and the inflatable sacs of the Prairie-fowls 
(Grouse), while the convolutions and enlargements of the trachea 
in many birds (e.g. Manucode) though not externally visible pro- 
duce an audible sexual Dimorphism. 

Sexual Dimorphism in size is also manifested among birds — 
and this in both directions. To ourselves it may seem natural that 
the male should be the stronger and therefore the bigger sex, and 
among Mammals he generally is ; but in Birds this is by no means 
so much the rule, the cock being very considerably larger than the 
hen only in certain Gallinaceous and Eatite groups, most of which 
are polygamous, and hence a possible explanation may be afforded. 
On the other hand, though a case in which the female is larger 
than the male is hardly to be found among Mammals, instances 
occur among Reptiles (notably in Tortoises and Snakes) and very 
frequently among Amphibians and Fishes. Among Birds it is 
almost universal with the AcciriTiiKS, and obtains in several of the 


LimicoIiB, as the Dotterel, Godwit, Phalarope, and Rhynchsea or 
Painted Snipe, as well as in some of the Turnieidse. (Hemipode). 
No single explanation that will fit all these cases seems possible ; 
but in those of the Limicolse just mentioned, it is to be remarked 
that the females are not only larger but are more conspicuously 
coloured than the males, which latter are believed to perform 
exclusively the duty of incubation. In the lower classes of Ver- 
tebrates the production of the often numerous eggs may be the 
original cause of the greater size of the females. 


DIPPER, a name now in general use for the Water-OuSEL, 
but apparently invented in 1804 by the author of Bewick's British 
Birds (ed. 1, ii. p. 17) because "it may be seen perched on the top 
of a stone in the midst of the torrent, in a continual dipping motion, 
or short courtesy often repeated," and not (as commonly is sup- 
posed) from its habit of entering the Avater in search of its food. 

DISHWASHER, a common name in many parts of England, 
especially in the south, by which the Pied Wagtail, Motacilla 
lugubris, is known ; and given also in Australia to Sisura inquieta 

DIVER, a name that when applied to a bird is commonly used 
in a sense even more vague than that of Loom, several of the Sea- 
DucKS or Fuligulinse and Mergansers being frequently so called, 
to say nothing of certain of the AuKS or Alcidse and Grebes ; but 
in English ornithological works the term Diver is generally re- 
stricted to the Family known as ColymUdse, a very well-marked 
group of aquatic birds, possessing great, though not exceptional, 
powers of submergence, and consisting of a single genus Colymbus 
(or Eadytes of some writers) ^ which is composed of three or four 
species, all confined to the northern hemisphere. This Family 
belongs to the Cecomorph.t. of Prof. Huxley, and is usually sup- 
posed to occupy a place between the Alcidse and Podicipedidse ; but 
to which of those groups it is most closely related is at present 
undecided. Brandt in 1837 {Beitr. Naturgesch. Fogel, pp. 124-132) 
pointed out the osteological difi"erences of the Grebes and the 
Divers, urging the affinity of the latter to the Auks ; while, thirty 
years later. Prof. Alphonse Milne-Edwards (Ois. foss. France, i. 
pp. 279-283) inclined to the opposite view, chiefly relying on the 
similarity of a peculiar formation of the tibia in the Grebes and 
Divers,^ which indeed is very remarkable, and, in the latter group, 

1 By these writers the name Colymlus is generally used for what others term 
Podiceps, more correctly written Podicipes. Americans of late prefer Urinator. 

^ The remains of Colymhoides minutus, from the Miocene of Langy, described 
by this naturalist in the work just cited, seem to shew it to have been a general- 
ized form. Unfortunately its tibia is unknown. 

152 DIVER 

attracted the attention of Willughby more than two hundred years 
since. On the other hand, Brandt, and Eudolph Wagner shortly 
after (Xaumann's Vogel Deutschlands, ix. p. 683, xii. p. 395), had 
already shewn that the structure of the knee-joint in the Grebes 
and Divers differs in that the former have a distinct and singularly- 
formed patella (which is undeveloped in the latter) in addition to 
the prolonged, pyramidally -formed, procnemial process — which last 
may, from its exaggeration, be regarded as a character almost 
peculiar to these two groups.^ The e%ddence furnished by oology 
and the newly-hatched young would seem to favour Brandt's views ; 
and, without according too much weight to such evidence, it cer- 
tainly ought to be considered before a decision is reached. The 
abortion of the redrices in the Grebes, while these feathers are 
fairly developed in the Divers, is another point that helps to 
separate the two Families ; but until their morphology has been 
worked out nothing can be safely averred on the subject. 

The commonest species of Colymhus is C. septentrionalis, known 
as the Red-throated Diver from an elongated patch of dark bay 
colour which distinguishes the throat of the adult in summer-dress. 
Notwithstanding this ornament, it is the least conspicuous, as it is 
also the smallest, species of the genus, the back and upper plumage 
being of a blackish-brown with a few insignificant white spots, 
while the head and sides of the neck are ash-coloured, bounded by 
a long nuchal band, which lower down advances towards the 
breast, of feathers marked mth black, grey, and white, to form 
regular stripes. Immature birds want the bay patch, and have 
the back so much more spotted that they are commonly known as 
"Speckled Divers." Next in size is the Black-throated Diver, 
C. ardicus, having a light grey head and a gular patch of purplish- 
black, above which is a semi-collar of Avhite striped vertically with 
black, while two patches on the black back, between the shoulders, 
as well as the scapulars, are conspicuously marked with large sub- 
quadrangular white spots. Still bigger is the Great Northern 
Diver, C. glacialis or torquatus, with a glossy black head and neck, 
two semi-collars of white and black vertical stripes, and nearly the 
whole of the black back and upper surface of the wings beautifully 
marked Avith white spots, varying in size and arranged in belts.^ 
Closely resembling this bird, so as to be most easily distinguished 
from it by its ivory-white or yellow bill, is C. adanisi, the specific 

^ GaiTod, in his tentative and chiefly myological arrangement of Birds 
{Proc. Zool. Soc. 1874, p. 117), iiLaced the Cohjmhidse and Podicipcdidm in 
one Order (Anseriformcs) and the Alcidm in another (Charadruformes) ; but the 
artificial nature of this assignment may bo realized by the fact of his considering 
the other Families of the former Order to bo Anatidw, and Sphcniscidm. 

- The osteology and myology of this species are described by Dr. Cones 
{Mem. Boston Soc. Nat. History, i. pp. 131-172, pi. 5). 


validity of which is not yet fully recognized. The Divers live 
chiefly on fish, and are of eminently marine habit, though invari- 
ably resorting for the purpose of breeding to freshwater-lakes, 
where they lay their two dark-brown eggs on the very brink ; but 
they are not unfrequently found far from the sea, being either 
driven inland by stress of weather, or exhausted in their migra- 
tions. Like most birds of their build, they chiefly trust to SAvim- 
ming, whether submerged or on the surface, as a means of progress, 
but once on the wing their flight is strong and they can mount to 
a great height, whence on occasion they will rush downward with 
a velocity that must be seen to be appreciated, and this sudden 
descent is accompanied by a noise for which those who have wit- 
nessed it will agree in thinking that thundering is too weak an 
epithet. In Avinter their range is too extensive and varied to be 
here defined, though it is believed never to pass, and in feAV direc- 
tions to approach, the northern tropic ; but the geographical dis- 
tribution of the several forms in summer requires mention. While 
C. septentrionalis inhabits the north temperate zone of both hemi- 
spheres, C. arcticus breeds in suitable places from the Hebrides to 
Scandinavia, and across the Russian empire, it would seem, to 
Japan, reappearing in the north-west of North America,^ though 
its eastern limit on that continent cannot yet be laid down ; but it 
is not found in Greenland, Iceland, Shetland, or Orkney. C. 
glacialis, on the contrary, breeds throughout the north-eastern part 
of Canada, in Greenland, and in Iceland. It has been said to do 
so in Scotland as well as in Norway, but the assertion seems to 
await positive proof, and it may be doubted whether, wath the 
exception of Iceland, it is indigenous to the Old World,^ since the 
form observed in North-eastern Asia is evidently that which has 
been called C. adamsi, and is also found in North-western America ; 
but it may be remarked that three examples of this form have 
been taken in England, and two in Norway (Proc. Zool. Soc. 
1859, p. 206, Nyt Mag. for NaturvidensMherne, 1877, p. 218, and 
Stevenson's Birds of Norfolk, iii. pp. 268, 269). 

DIVERTICULUM {di. c£ecum vitelli). After the yolk-sac has 
been withdrawn into the body-cavity its stalk remains in connection 
with the small intestine, and forms an appendix to it like a little 
cfficum, which often persists throughout life in the NiDiFUG^, and 

^ Mr. Lawrence's C. pacificus seems hardly to deserve specific recognition. 

■" In this connexion should be mentioned the remarkable occurrence in 
Europe of two birds of this species which had been previously wounded by a 
weapon presumably of transatlantic origin. One had "an arrow headed with 
copper sticking through its neck," and was shot on the Irish coast, as recorded 
by Thompson {Nat. Hist. Ireland, iii. p. 201) ; the other, says Herr H. C. 
Miiller (Fid Medcl. nat. Forening, 1862, p. 35), was found dead in Kalbaksfjord 
in the Fjeroes, with an iron-tipped bone dart fast under its wing. 

154 DO D LET 

occasionally, as in the Eatit^, retains a small quantity of de- 
generated yolk, while in the Nidicol^ or Altrices it is generally 
absorbed before maturity. 

DODLET, Sir R. Owen's name, intended to be a diminutive of 
Dodo (as its scientific appellation Didunculus is of Didiis), for the 
Tooth-lDilled Pigeon of the Samoan or Navigators' Islands, the 
hooked bill of which presents an outward resemblance to that of the 
celebrated inhabitant of Mauritius ; but Didunculus, though by 
many writers placed in the Family Dididx, differs remarkably from 
them, and is really much more allied to the true Columhidx (Dove, 
Pigeon), though entitled to form a separate Family, Bidunculidse 
{Phil. Trans. 1869, p. 349). 

The name given by Sir R. Owen has fortunately not been 
adopted, but for convenience sake this curious bird is here treated 
under it. The species must have been first observed in October or 
November 1839, when the Samoan Islands were visited by the 
United States' Exploring Expedition under Commander Wilkes 
(Narrative, etc. pp. 87-116. London: 1845), and Strickland seems 
to have first publicly announced the discovery at the meeting of the 
British Association held at York in September 1844, when he stated 
(Report, etc. p. 189) that "among other rarities" obtained on the 
voyage by Mr. Titian Peale, the naturalist of the expedition, was 
" a new bird allied to the Dodo, which he proposes to name Didun- 
culus." The earliest description of it that appeared was accompanied 
by a figure, and was published by Jardine (Ann. Nat. Hist. xvi. p. 
175, pi. 9), just a year after, under the name of Gnathodon'^ strigi- 
rostris, from a specimen which had been sent home, probably by some 
missionary, and was bought in a sale at Edinburgh. This, and 
those brought by the American explorers, were for a long while the 
only specimens known to have reached any civilized country. In 
1847 Reichenbach conferred on this bird a new generic name, 
Pliodus, for an invalid reason (see his Fog. Neuholl, ii. p. 158, note), 
but courtesy required what custom has acceded, and the oldest 
generic name applied to it has been commonly adopted, though the 
full title of the Tooth-billed Pigeon, Didunculus strigirostris, was not 
bestowed until 1848, when Peale's work on the zoology of the 
Expedition to which he was attached put matters so far straight 
enough. Of late many specimens have been brought to Europe, 
and they may be seen in many museums. Much has been written 
of the habits of Didunculus in its native condition, but little that is 
to the purpose, while some seem to have confounded it with the 
Carpophaga pacifica or oceanica, which also is peculiar to the Samoan 
Islands. The interest taken in this species, chiefly because of its 

^ J. E. Gray had already, in 1836, forestalled the use of this name for a genus 
of Mollusca. 

DODO 155 

supposed — but really very slight — affinity to the DoDO, and of the 
belief that it would speedily undergo the same fate, has already 
caused legends about it to spring up, and statements are made to 
the effect that it has changed its habits so as to ensure its safety 
from the numerous enemies which civilization has introduced. I 
have no means of contradicting such assertions, but according to my 
OAvn experience they are very unlikely to be true, and they should 
be verified by particular observation and not left to general im- 
pression. Living examples have several times been taken to 
Sydney, and 3 have been exhibited in the Zoological Gardens in 
London. The first of them, obtained through the care of Dr. George 
Bennett {Froc. Zool. Soc. 1864, p. 158), laid an egg (Proc. Zool. Soc. 
1867, p. 164, pi. XV. fig. 6) which was of the normal Columbine 
form and nearly of the normal Columbine colour. It must be con- 
fessed that the species, the speedy extinction of which seems prob- 
able, was not lively or attractive as a cage-bird. 

DODO, from the Portuguese Doudo (a simpleton i), a large bird 
formerly inhabiting Mauritius, but now extinct — the Didus inephis of 
Linnaeus. The precise year in which that island was discovered by 
the Portuguese is undetermined ; but M. Codine shews {Mem. Geogr. 
sur la Mer des Indes, chap. vii. Paris : 1868) that it was probably in 
1507, and it was by them called Cerne, after one of their ships 
so named from an island mentioned by Pliny (Hist. Nat. vi. 
36 ; x. 9), though many authors have insisted that it was 
known to the seamen of that nation as Ilha do Cisne — 
perhaps but a corruption of Cerne, and brought about by their 
finding it stocked with large fowls, which, though not aquatic, they 
likened to Swans, the most familiar to them of bulky birds. How- 
ever, that early experience is unfortunately lost to us, no direct 
evidence having come to light, and nothing positive can be asserted 
of the island or its inhabitants (none of whom, it should be 
observed, were human) until 1598, when the Dutch, under Van 
Neck, arrived there and renamed it Mauritius. A narrative of 
this voyage was published in 1601, if not sooner, and has been 
often reprinted. Here we have birds spoken of as big as Swans or 
bigger, with large heads, no wings, and a tail consisting of a few 
curly feathers. The Dutch called them JFalghvogels (the word is 
vai'iously spelt), i.e. " nauseous birds," because, as is said, no 
cooking made them palatable ; but another and perhaps better 
reason, for it was admitted that their breast was tender, is also 
assigned, namely, that this island-paradise afforded an abundance 
of superior fare. De Bry gives two admirably quaint prints of 
the doings of the Hollanders, and in one of them the JFalchvogel 
1 Alewyn and Colle, in tlieir Woordenschat der twee Taalcn Fortugeesch en 
Nedcrdxdtsch (Amsterdam: 1714, p. 362), render it " Een sot, dwaas, dol, of 
uitzinnV mensch." 



appears, being the earliest published representation of its unwieldy- 
form, mth a footnote stating that the voyagers brought an example 
alive to Holland. Among the company there was a draughtsman, 
and from a sketch of his Clusius, a few years after, gave a figure 
of the bird, which he vaguely called " Gallinaceus Gallus peregrirms" 
but desci"ibed rather fully. Meanwhile two other Dutch fleets had 
visited Mauritius. One of them had a draughtsman on board, and 
his original sketches fortunately still exist in a library at Utrecht. 
Three or four of them represent the Dodo, and one of them is here 



Reduced from a tracing by Prof. Schlegel of the original drawing in a MS. journal kept 

during Wolphart Harmanszoon's voyage to Mauritius (a.d. 1601-1602). 

reproduced, for the first time, but on a smaller scale. ^ Of the 
other fleet, a journal kept by one of the skippers was subsequently 
published. This in the main corroborates what has been before 
said of the birds, but adds the curious fact that they Avere now 
called by some Dodaarsen and by others Drontcn.^ 

^ On the death of Prof. Schlegel, who announced his intention of publishing 
these sketclies in fac-simile, I became possessed of his collection of drawings of 
the Dodo and other extinct birds of Mauritius, which includes tracings by him 
of these curious and interesting sketches (c/. Extermination). 

^ The etymology of these names has been much discussed. The former has 
been shewn by Prof. Schlegel ( Versl. en iledcdccl. K. Alcad. Wetciisch. ii. \i\\ '-•'••'' 
et seqq.) to be the homely name of the Dabchick or Little Grebe, Podicipcs 

DODO ■ 157 

Henceforth Dutch narrators, though several times mentioning 
the bird, fail to supply any important fact in its history. Their 
navigators, however, were not idle, and found work for their 
naturalists and painters. Clusius says that in 1605 he saw at 
Pauw's House in Leyden a Dodo's foot,^ which he minutely de- 
scribes. Of late years a copy of Clusius's work has been discovered 
in the high school of Utrecht, in which is pasted an original di'aw- 
ing by Van de Yenne, reproduced in fac-simile by Herr H. C. 
Millies in 1868, and superscribed "Vera effigies huius avis JValgh- 
vogel (quae & a nautis Dodaers propter foedam posterioris partis 
crassitiem nuncupatur) qualis viua Amsterodamum perlata est ex 
Insula Mauritii. Anno M.DC.XXVI." Now a good many paint- 
ings of the Dodo by a celebrated artist named Koelandt Savery, 
who was born at Courtray in 1576 and died in 1639, have long 
been known, and it has always been understood that these were 
drawn from the life. Proof, however, of the limning of a li-\dng 
Dodo in Holland at that period had hitherto been wanting. There 
can now be no longer any doubt of the fact ; and the paintings by 
this artist of the Dodo at Berlin and Vienna — dated respectively 
1626 and 1628 — as well as the picture by Goiemare, belonging to 
the Duke of Northumberland, at Sion House, dated 1627, may be 
with greater plausibility than ever considered portraits of a captive 
bird. It is even probable that this was not the first example 
which had sat to a painter in Europe. In the private library of 
the late Emperor Francis of Austria is a series of pictures of 
various animals, supposed to be by the Dutch artist Hoefnagel, 
who was born about 1545. One of these represents a Dodo, and, 
if there be no mistake in Von Frauenfeld's ascription, it must 
almost certainly have been painted before 1626, while there is 
reason to think that the original may have been kept in the 
vivarium of the then Emperor Rudolf II, and that the portion of 
a Dodo's head, which was found in the Museum at Prague about 
1850, belonged to this example. The other pictures by Roelandt 
Savery, of which may be mentioned that at the Hague, that in the 

miliar, of which the Dutchmen were reminded by the round stern and tail dimin- 
ished to a tuft that characterized the Dodo. The same learned authority 
suggests that Dodo is a corruption of Dodaars, but, as will presently be seen, 
we herein think him mistaken. The latter of the two names, which has been 
naturalized in France as Dronte, as Dr. Jentink has kindly suggested to me, maj- 
be from the obsolete Dutch verb drontcn (cognate with drentcn and drinten), to be 
swollen (c/. Verwijs and Verdam, Middelncderlandsch Woordenbock, ii. col. 435), 
and would indicate the Dodo's figure as represented by some draughtsmen, and as 
described by Herbert. 

■' What became of the specimen (which may have been a relic of the bird 
brought home by Van Neck's squadron) is not known. Broderip and the late 
Dr. Gray suggested its identity with that now in the British iluseum, but on 
what grounds is not apparent. 

158 • DODO 

possession of the Zoological Society of London (formerly Broderip's), 
that in the Schonborn collection at Pommei-sfelden near Bamberg, 
and that belonging to Dr. Seyffery at Stuttgart are undated, but 
were probably all painted about the same time (viz. 1626 to 1628). 
The large picture in the British Museum, once belonging to Sir 
Hans Sloane, by an unknown artist, but supposed to be by Roelandt 
Savery, is also undated ; while the still larger one at Oxford (con- 
sidered to be by the younger Savery) bears a much later date, 
1651. Undated also is a picture said to be by Pieter Holsteyn, 
and in the possession of Dr. A. van der Willige at Haarlem in 

In 1628 we have the evidence of the first English observer of 
the bird — one Emanuel Altham, who mentions it in two letters 
written on the same day from Mauritius to his brother at home. 
Thesey through the intervention of the late Dr. J. B. Wilmot, were 
brought to light. ^ In one the writer says : " You shall receue . . . 
a strange fowle : Avhich I had at the Hand Mauritius called by ye 
portingalls a Do Do : which for the rareness thereof I hope wilbe 
welcome to you." The passage in the other letter is to the same 
effect, with the addition of the words "if it Hue." Nothing more 
is known of this valuable consignment. In the same fleet ^Wth 
Altham sailed Herbert, whose Travels ran through several editions 
and have been long quoted. It is plain that he could not 
have reached Maiuitius till 1629, though 1627 has been usually 
assigned as the date of his visit. The fullest account he gives of 
the bird is in his edition of 1638, and in the curiously afi'ected style 
of many writers of the period. It will be enough to quote the 
beginning : " The Dodo comes first to a description : here, and in 
Dygarrois ^ (and no where else, that ever I could see or heare of) is 
generated the Dodo (a Portuguizo name it is, and has reference to 
her simpleness), a Bird which for shape and rareness might be 
call'd a Phoenix (wer't in Arabia :) " — the rest of the passage is 
entertaining, but the Avhole has been often reprinted. Herbert, it 
may be remarked, Avhen he could see a possible Cymric similarit}'', 
Avas weak as an etymologist, but his positive statement, corroborated 
as it is by Altham, cannot be set aside, and hence we do not hesi- 
tate to assign a Portuguese derivation for the word.^ Herbert also 
gave a figure of the bird. 

^ Proc. Zool. Soc. 1874, pp. 447-449. I ain informed that on the death of Dr. 
Wilmot these interesting papers (which, had they been his own projierty, he 
would have willingly made over to some public library) were burnt. I had, 
however, taken the precaution to have them accuratelj^ transcribed while they 
were entrusted to my keeping. 

2 I.e. Rodriguez ; an error, as we shall see. 

' Hence we venture to dispute Schlegcl's supposed origin of "Dodo. " The 
Portuguese must have been the prior nomenclators, and if, as is most likely, sonic of 

DODO 159 

Proceeding chronologically, we next come upon a curious bit of 
e^adence. This is contained in a MS. diary kept between 1626 
and 1640 by Thomas Crossfield of Queen's College, Oxford, where, 
under the year 1634, mention is casually made of one Mr. Gosling, 
" who bestowed the Dodar (a blacke Indian bird) vpon ye Anatomy 
school." Nothing more is known of it. About 1638, Sir Hamon 
Lestrange tells us, as he walked London streets he saw the picture 
of a strange fowl hung out on a cloth canvas, and going in to see it, 
found a great bird kept in a chamber " somewhat bigger than the 
largest Turkey cock, and so legged and footed, but shorter and 
thicker." The keeper called it a Dodo and shewed the visitors 
how his captive would swallow "large peble stones ... as bigge 
as nutmegs." 

In 1651 Morisot published an account of a voyage made by 
Fran9ois Cauche, who professed to have passed sixteen days in 
Mauritius, or "I'isle de Saincte Apollonie " as he called it, in 1638. 
According to De Flacom-t the narrative is not very trustworthy, 
and indeed certain statements are obviously inaccurate. Cauche 
says he saw there birds bigger than Swans, which he describes so 
as to leave no doubt of his meaning Dodos ; but perhaps the most 
important facts (if they be facts) that he relates are that they had 
a cry like a Gosling ("il a un cry comme I'oison "), and that they 
laid a single Avhite egg, " gros comme un pain d'un sol," on a mass 
of grass in the forests. He calls them "oiseaux de Nazaret," per- 
haps, as a marginal note informs us, from an island of that name 
which was then supposed to lie more to the northward, but is now 
known to have no existence. 

In the catalogue of Tradescant's Collection of Rarities, preserved at 
South Lavibeth, published in 1656, we have entered among the 
" Whole Birds " a " Dodar from the island Mauritius ; it is not able 
to flie being so big." This specimen may well have been the em- 
balmed body of the bird seen by Lestrange some eighteen years before, 
hut any how we are able to trace the specimen through Willughby, 
Lhwyd, and Hyde, till it passed in or before 1684 to the Ashmolean 
collection at Oxford. In 1755 it was ordered to be destroyed, but, 
in accordance with the original orders of Ashmole, its head and 
right foot were preserved, and still ornament the Museum of that 
University. In the second edition of a Catalogue of mamj Natural 
Rarities, &c., to be seen at the place formerly called the Music House, 
near the West End of St. Paul's Church, collected by one Hubert 
alias Forbes, and published in 1665, mention is made of a " legge 

their nation, or men acquainted witli their language, were emploj^ed to pilot the 
Hollanders, we see at once how the first Dutch name Walghvogd would give 
way. The meaning of Doudo not being plain to the Dutch, they would, as is 
the habit of sailors, convert it into something they did understand. Then 
Dodaers would easily suggest itself {cf. Albatros and Booby). 

i6o DODO 

of a Dodo, a great heavy bird that cannot fly ; it is a Bird of the 
Mauricius Island." This is supposed to have subsequently passed 
into the possession of the Royal Society. At all events such a 
specimen is included in Grew's list of their treasures which was 
published in 1681, and it was afterwards transferred to the British 
Museum, where it still reposes. As may be seen, it is a left foot, 
without the integuments, but it differs sufficiently in size from 
the Oxford specimen to forbid its having been part of the same 
individual. In 1666 Olearius brought out the Gottoi-ffisclies Kunst 
Kammer, wherein he describes the head of a Walghvogel, which some 
sixty years later was removed to the Museum at Copenhagen, and 
is now preserved there, having been the means of first leading 
zoologists, under the guidance of the late Prof. Johannes Theodor 
Reinhardt in 1843, to recognize the true affinities of the bird. 

Little more remains to be told. For brevity's sake we have 
passed over all but the principal narratives of voyagers or other 
notices of the bird. A compendious bibliography, up to the year 
1848, will be found in Strickland's classical work,^ and the list was 
continued by Von Frauenfeld ^ for twenty years later. The last 
evidence we have of the Dodo's existence is furnished by a journal 
kept by Benj. Harry, and now in the British Museum [MSS. Addit. 
3668, 11. D). This shews its survival till 1681, but the writer's 
sole remark upon it is that its " fflesh is very hard." The successive 
occupation of the island by different masters seems to have destroyed 
every tradition relating to the bird, and doubts began to arise 
whether such a creature had ever existed. Duncan, in 1828, proved 
how ill-founded these doubts were, and some ten years later 
Broderip with much diligence collected all the available evidence 
into an admirable essay, which in its turn was succeeded by Strick- 
land's monograph just mentioned. But in the meanwhile little 
was done towards obtaining any material advance in our knowledge, 
Reinhardt's determination of its affinity to the Pigeons {Columbse) 
excepted ; and it was hardly until the late Mr. George Clark's dis- 
covery in 1865 {Ihis, 1866, pp. 141-146) of a large number of Dodos' 
remains, that zoologists generally were prepared to accept that 
affinity Avithout question. The examination of bone after bone by 
Sir R. Owen {Trans. Zool. Soc. vi. p. 49) and others confirmed the 
judgment of the Danish naturalist, and no different view can 
now be successfully maintained. In 1889, at the instance of M. 
Sauzier, researches on the scene of Mr. Clark's successes Avere renewed, 
this time by the Mauritian Government, and a vast number of Dodos' 
and other bones were recovered from the Mare aux Songes. Some 

1 The Dodo and its Kindred. By H. E. Strickland and A. G. Melville. 
London : 1848, 4to. 

- JVeii aufgcfundcm Ahhildung dcs Drontc, u. s. w. Von Georg Rittcr von 
Fraucnleld. Wien : 1868, fol. 


of these specimens, having been sent by M. Sauzier to Sir Edward 
Newton, are now in process of being worked out, and it is clear 
that they "v\dll add not a little to a better knowledge of the osteo- 
logy of the species. 

The causes which led to the extirpation of this ponderous 
Pigeon are elsewhere discussed (Extermination), and it will be 
remembered that the Dodo does not stand alone in its fate, but 
that two more or less nearly allied birds inhabiting the sister 
islands of Reunion and Rodriguez (Solitaire) have in like manner 
disappeared from the face of the earth. 

DOE-BIRD or DOUG-H-BIRD, the name given, according to 
Nuttall {llan. Orn. U.S. and Canada, ii. p. 102), indiscriminately 
by the English in eastern North America to some species of Curlew 
and God WIT ; but, says Mr. Trumbull {Names and Portr. i?. p. 203), 
rightly applied to the small species of the former, Numenius horealis, 
commonly called the Esquimaux Curlew. 

DOLLARrBIRD, the Australian name for Eurystomus pacificus, 
from the silvery white spot in the middle of the "wing, which is dis- 
tinctly shewn in flight (Gould, Handb. B. Austral, i. p. 120). The 
genus Eurystomus, which is one of the Coraciidie (Roller), contains 
about half a dozen species, belonging to the Indian or Ethiopian 

DORR-HAWK, a name of the Nightjar, from its feeding on 
the mischievous "Dorr-Beetle" (Melolontha solstitialis). 

DOTTEREL (variously spelt), the diminutive of Dolt, a bird 
so called from its alleged stupidity ; for, as asserted by many old 
writers, if the fowler stretched out his arm or his leg, so did the 
Dotterel with its homologous limb. So prone is mankind to believe 
any silly story of what it is the custom to call "Animal Instinct," 
that this foolish notion prevails to the present day among many 
who pass for zoologists. Yet the true meaning was told to 
Willughby in or before 1676 : one Peter Dent, a Cambridge 
apothecary, having A\Tfitten to him the information supplied by a 
gentleman of Norfolk well acquainted \nth. the " sport " of catching 
these birds, to the effect that instead of their aping the gestures 
of the men, it was the men Avho aped those of the bii'ds, as the 
latter were being driven into the nets ; for, as every one who has 
watched the actions of LimicoUv must know, it is their common 
habit as they run to extend a wing and often simultaneously a leg. 
This belief in the foolishness of the species has been fostered also 
oy its name morinellus, bestowed by Caius with a double meaning 
— ^being a diminutive of morus, a fool, and having reference to 
Morini, the ancient name of the people of Flanders, where he had 


found the bird common (Be rar. Anim. atque Stirp. Hist. Londini : 
1570, fol. 21). 

The Dotterel, Charadrius or JEudromias morinellm, is one of the 
most beautiful of the PLOVER-kind, and its gradual extinction in 
Great Britain is a fact much to be regretted. It has long had the 
credit of being a delicacy for the table, and has moreover lain under 
the disadvantage of being thought to be in better condition in 
spring, or early summer, when it arrives in this island on its way 
to its breeding- quarters than when it is returning southward in 
autumn. Consequently it has been for years ruthlessly shot down 
at the time when its life was most precious for the continuance of 
its species, and with the result that always attends such brutal 
practice. It used formerly to breed on the Cumberland and West- 
moreland fells, but seems to have ceased from doing so for some 
years; the birds resorting thither having been destroyed, and its 
haunts on the Scottish mountains appear to be devastated by the 
"collector" so soon as they are discovered. So far as is at present 
known, the Dotterel stands alone among the Charadriidx, in the 
facts that the posterior processes of the sternum extend baclnpard 
nearly as far as the keel does, the outer pair being somewhat everted, 
and that the hen birds are larger and more brightly coloured than 
the cocks. Furthermore, the Dotterel lays only three eggs, four 
being the usual number in the Lindcolse. The name Dotterel is 
often applied, with or without a prefix, to the Ringed Plover, 
^gicditis hiaticola, and some of its relations, to aU. of which it is 
whoUy inappropriate. 

DOUCKER or DUCKER (Germ. Taucher), a word used by 
many old -writers for any bird that " ducks " or dives, and wholly 
without special meaning. 

DOVE (Dutch, Duyve ; Danish, Due ; Icelandic, Dufa ; German, 
Taube), a name which seems to be most commonly applied to the 
smaller members of the group of birds by ornithologists usually 
called Pigeons, Columbx ; but no sharp distinction can be di'a-\\Ti 
between Pigeons and Doves, and in general literature the two 
words are used almost indifferently, while no one species can be 
pointed out to Avhich the word Dove, taken alone, seems to be 
absolutely proper. The largest of the group to Avhich the name is 
applicable is perhaps the Ring-Dove, or Wood-Pigeon, also called in 
many parts of Britain Cushat and Queest, Columha palumhus, a very 
common bird throughout these islands and most parts of Europe. 
It associates in winter in large flocks, the numbers of which (owing 
partly to the destruction of predacious animals, but still more to 
the modern system of agriculture, and the growth of plantations in 
many districts that were before treeless) have of late years increased 
enormously, so that their depredations are at times very serious. 

DOVE 163 

In former days, when the breadth of land in Britain under green 
crops was comparatively small, these birds found little food in the 
dead season, and this scarcity was a natural check on their super- 
abundance. •*■ But since the extended cultivation of turnips and 
plants of similar use the case is altered, and perhaps at no time of 
the year has provender become more plentiful than in wdnter. The 
Ring-Dove may be easily distinguished from other European species 
by its larger size, and especially by the white spot on either side 
of its neck, forming a nearly continuous "ring," whence the bird 
takes its name, and the large white patches in its wings, which are 
very conspicuous in flight. It breeds several times in the year, 
making for its nest a slight platform of sticks on the horizontal 
bough of a tree, and laying therein two eggs — which, as in all the 
Columbidse, are white. 

The Stock-Dove (C. cenas of most authors) is a smaller species, 
with many of the habits of the former, but breeding by preference 
in the stocks of hollow trees or in rabbit-holes. It is darker in 
colom- than the Ring-Dove, Avithout any white on its neck or wings, 
and is much less common and more locally distributed. Formerly 
scarce or, unknown in the north of England, it has of late years 
been found to extend over almost the whole of Scotland. 

The Rock-Dove (C livia, Temm.) much resembles the Stock- 
Dove, but is of a lighter colour, with two black bars on its wings, 
and a white rump. In its wild state it haunts most of the rocky 
parts of the coast of Europe, from the Faroes to the Cyclades, and, 
seldom going inland, is comparatively rare. Yet, as it is Avithout 
contradiction the parent -stem of all our domestic Pigeons, its 
numbers must far exceed those of both the former put together. 
In Egypt and various parts of Asia it is represented by what ]\Ii\ 
Darwin has called "Wild Races," which are commonly accounted 
good " species " (C. scliimperi, C. affinis, C. intermedia, C. leuconota, 
and so forth), though they differ from one another far less than do 
nearly aU the domestic forms, of which more than 150 kinds that 
" breed true," and have been separately named, are kno'wn to exist. 
Very many of ■ these, if found wild, would have unquestionably 
been ranked by the best ornithologists as distinct " species," and 

^ Yet one curious fact in connexion herewitli has never been satisfactorily 
explained. It not unfi-equently happens that after Wood-Pigeons have abounded 
in a district for some two or three years, so as to be a perfect plague, theii- 
numbers have suddenly dwindled without any assignable cause, for the ordinary 
modes of destruction prove wholly futile in checking theii- multiplication. 
Another fact, perhaps worth recording, is the curious increase of late years — say 
from 1885, or possibly a little earlier — of this species in St. James's Park, M'here 
it is now as numerous, if not as familiar, as in what used to be the Gardens of 
the TuUeries in Paris. I had long known that it inhabited the singular paradise 
afforded by the gardens of Buckingham Palace, but that it should establish 
itself even nearer to the centi-e of London I had not expected. 

i64 DOVE 

several of them "would as undoubtedly have been placed in different 
genera. These various breeds are classified by Mr. Darwin^ in /owr 
groups as follows : — 

Group I. composed of a single Eace, that of the " Pouters," 
having the gullet of great size, barely separated from the crop, and 
often inflated, the body and legs elongated, and a moderate bill. 
The most strongly marked subrace, the Improved English Pouter, is 
considered to be the most distinct of all domesticated pigeons. 

Group II. includes three Races: — (1) "Carriers," with a long 
pointed bill, the eyes surrounded by much bare skin, and the neck 
and body much elongated ; (2) " Runts," with a long massive bill, 
and the body of great size; and (3) "Barbs," with a short broad 
bill, much bare skin round the eyes, and the skin over the nostrils 
swollen. Of the first four and of the second five subraces are 

Group III. is confessedly artificial, and to it are assigned ^ve 
Races: — (1) " Fan-tails," remarkable for the extraordinary develop- 
ment of their tails, which may consist of as many as forty-two 
rectrices in place of the ordinary twelve ; (2) " Turbits " and 
" Owls," with the feathers of the throat diverging, and a short thick 
bill; (3) "Tumblers," possessing the marvellous habit of tumbling 
backwards during flight or, in some breeds, even on the ground, and 
having a short, conical bill ; (4). " Frill-backs," in which the 
feathers are reversed; and (5) "Jacobins," with the feathers of 
the neck forming a hood, and the mngs and tail long. 

Group IV. greatly resembles the normal form, and comprises 
two Races : — (1) "Trumpeters," Avith a tuft of feathers at the base 
of the neck cm'ling forward, the face much feathered, and a very 
peculiar voice ; and (2) Pigeons scarcely diflering in structure from 
the wild stock. 

Beside these, some three or four other little-knoAvn breeds exist, 
and the whole number of breeds and sub-breeds almost defies com- 
putation. The diff"erence betAveen them is in many cases far from 
being superficial, for Mr. Darwin has shewn that there is scarcely 
any part of the skeleton which is constant, and the modifications 
that have been eff"ected in the proportions of the head and sternal 
apparatus are very remarkable. Yet the proof that all these 
different l3irds have descended from one common stock is nearly 
certain. Here there is no need to point out its bearing upon the 
doctrine of "Natural Selection" which that eminent naturalist and 
Mr. Wallace have rendered so well known. The antiquity of some 
of these breeds is not the least interesting part of the subject, nor 
is the use to which one at least of them has long been applied. 
The Dove from the earliest period in history has been associated 
1 The Variation of Animals and Plants vndc r Domvstiaxtion. Loinloii : 1868. 
Vol. i. pp. 131-224. 

DOVE 165 

with the idea of a messenger (Genesis viii. 8-12), and its employ- 
ment in that capacity, developed successively by Greeks, Romans, 
Mussulmans, and Christians, has never been more fully made avail- 
able than in our own day, as witness the " Pigeon-post " established 
during the siege of Paris in 1870-71. 

Leaving, then, this interesting subject, space does not permit 
our here dwelling on various foreign species, which, if not truly 
belonging to the genus Columba, are barely separable therefrom. 
Of these examples may be found in the Indian, Ethiopian, and 
Neotropical Eegions. Still less can we here enter upon the in- 
numerable other forms, though they may be entitled to the name 
of " Dove," which are to be found in almost every part of the 
Avorld, and nowhere more abundantly than in the Australian 
Region. Mr. Wallace {lUs, 1865, pp. 365-400) considers that they 
attain their maximum development in the Papuan Subregion, 
where, though the land-area is less than one-sixth that of Europe, 
more than a quarter of all the species (some 300 in number) kiiown 
to exist are found — OAving, he suggests, to the absence of forest- 
haunting and fruit-eating Mammals. 

It would, however, be impossible to conclude this article with- 
out noticing a small group of birds to which in some minds the 
name Dove will seem especially applicable. This is the group 
containing the Turtle-Doves — the time-honoured emblem of tender- 
ness and conjugal love. The common Turtle-Dove of Europe, 
Turtur communis or auritus, is one of those species which is gradu- 
ally extending its area. In England, not much more than a 
century ago, it seems to have been chiefly, if not solely, known in 
the southern and western counties. Though in the character of a 
straggler only, it now reaches the extreme north of Scotland, and 
is perhaps nowhere more abundant than in many of the midland 
and eastern counties of England. On the continent the same thing 
has been observed, though indeed not so definitely ; and this species 
has within the last forty years or so appeared as a casual visitor 
within the Arctic Circle. The probable causes of its extension 
cannot here be discussed ; and there is no need to dwell upon its 
graceful form and the delicate harmony of its modest colouring, for 
they are proverbial. The species is migratory, reachixig Europe 
late in April and retii'ing in September. Another species, and one 
perhaps better known from being commonly kept in confinement, 
is that called by many the Collared or Barbary Dove, T. risorius — 
the second English name possibly indicating that it was by way of 
that country that it was brought to us, for it is not an African 
bird. This is distinguished by its cream-coloured plumage and 
black necklace. Some uncertainty seems to exist about its original;! 
home, but it is found from Constantinople to India, and is abundant 
in the Holy Land, though there a third species, T. senegalensis, also 



occurs, whicli Canon Tristram thinks is the Turtle-Dove of Scrip- 

The " Greenland Dove " of Arctic seamen and of some writers 
in the last century is the 

DOVEKEE or DOVEKEY (often written affectedly Dovekie), 
the whalers' name for what is called in most books the Black 
Guillemot, Uria grylle ; but sometimes misapplied to the Little 
Auk or Eotche. 

DRAW- WATER, a common name given to the GOLDFINCH, 
which in captivity learns the trick of pulling a small bucket or cup 
of water from a reservoir placed below its cage, the cup being sus- 
pended by a string or light chain. 

DREPANIS, the scientific name given by Temminck {Man. 
d'Orn.^ed. 2, i. p. Ixxxvi.) to certain birds of the Sandwich Islands, 

Mamo, Drepanis pacifica. 

originally referred to the genus CertJda, and subsequently regarded 
as belonging to the Family Melipliagidfe (Honey-SUCKEr), but lately 
ascertained by Dr. Gadow to differ from the latter by possessing a 
tongue of a very distinct structure, and to be probably more nearly 
allied to the Cxrehkhv, so that their recognition as a separate 
Family, Drepanididiv, is justifiable. The genus Drqnivis, as latterly 
restricted, includes but a single species, J). 2'><ici/ica, now according 
to all accounts extinct, OMang, it is believed, to the way in 


which it Avas destroyed for the sake of its rich yellow feathers, 
used in former days to decorate the state robes of the chiefs.^ 
Specimens were brought to England by the companions of Cook on 
his last voyage, when the SandA^dch Islands were discovered, and 
one of them exists in the Museum of Vienna, while other examples 
are to be seen in Honolulu, Paris, Leyden, and Cambridge ; but 
probably not more than half a dozen have been preserved. Nearly 
allied to this species is the beautiful Scarlet Creeper of Latham, 
T^esfiaria coccinm, which also pro\dded feathers for the 
adornment of the natives, but has escaped the fate of its ^r:;^^^^-!^^^ 
relative, being still one of the most characteristic birds '^^ '^^ 

of the islands : and to the same Family belong several Vestiaeia. 

•" , . - ^^ . "^ ,, ® . , . (After Swainson.) 

other genera, among which Hemignatlvus, Avith its 
upper mandible in some species monstrously prolonged beyond the 
loAver, is very remarkable (see AVilson and Evans, Birds of the Sand- 
wich Islands). 

DEOMvEOGNATH^, the first Suborder of Carimtts?, according 
to Prof. Huxley's taxonomy (Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, pp. 425, 456), 
consisting of the Family Tinamidai (TiNAMOu), or Order Crijpfuri as 
some Avould have it. These birds have a completely Struthious 
palate, with a A^ery broad vomer meeting in front AAdth the broad 
maxillo- palatal plates as in Dromxus (Emeu), Avhile, behind, it 
receives the posterior extremities of the palatals and the anterior 
ends of the pterygoids, Avhich thus haA^e a Eatite conformation. 

DEOXGO, a native name of the Edolius forficatus of Madagascar 
Avhich has been not only adopted into various European languages, 
but also used generally for the allied species, several of Avhich are 
referred to distinct genera, as Bhringa, Chajytia, Chibia, Dicrurus, 
Lissemurus, Melanornis, and so forth, and inhabit Africa, Asia, the 

Eastern Archipelago, and 
Australia. The Drongos, 
knoAAHi as " King-CroAvs " 
to Anglo - Indians, are 
commonly placed as a 

Dicrurus. (After Swainson.) Subfamily auiOUg the 

LaniidcV (Shrike) ; but 
are fully entitled, so far as the groups of Fasseres are concerned, to 
rank as a Family, Dicruridx. Their colour Avhen adult is almost 

^ Its native name seems to have been Mamo, which Avas thence applied to 
the gorgeous mantles beset with its golden feathers. As the species became rare, 
recom-se was had for this purpose to the yellow feathers of a very different bird, 
the 0-0, the Acrulocercus nohilis of modern ornithologists, belonging, as Dr. 
Gadow has shewn, to the wholly-distinct Family McUphacjidx (Honey^sucker). 
Cj. AYilson and Evans, 0;;. cit. 

ilELAXOEXis. (After Swainson.) 

1 68 DUCK 

invariably black,^ and they have but 10 feathers in their tail, the 
outer rectrices being in several forms much prolonged and often 
more or less involuted, -while in some cases the outermost pair are 
enlarged at the end in a racquet-like form. Many are crested, and 
all have the base of the bill beset by more or fewer strong bristles. 

The Drongos seem to be wholly 
insectivorous, and are usually re- 
markable for the courage with 
which they mil attack and drive 
off larger birds, such as Kites or 
Crows. Considerable difficulty is 
found in discriminating the specific and generic forms of this Family ; 
but two, Dicrurus (or Buchanga) assimilis and D. ludivigi, inhabit the 
Cape Colony, while no fewer than 15, referred by Mr. Gates (Faun. 
Br. Inch Birds, i. pp. 308-326) to 7 genera, inhabit various parts of 
our Indian possessions, among which D. ater or macrocercus is the 
King -Crow proper, ranging from Affghanistan to China, though 
apparently not found in the Malay Peninsula. Australia is graced, 
so far as is Iviiown, with a single species, Chibia hradeata, but many 
are found in JMalasia and the islands of the JNIalay Ai^chipelago. 

DUCK, a word cognate vdth the Dutch Duyclccr (Germ. Tancli- 
enfe — and in Bavaria Duck-antt), the general English name for a 
large number of birds forming the greater part of the Family 
Anatidai of modern ornithologists. Technically the term Duck is 
restricted to the female, the male being called Drake, and in one 
species Mallard (Fr. Malart). 

The Anatidai may be at once divided into six more or less 
Avell-marked subfamilies — (1) the Cygninai (Swan), (2) the Anser- 
ine (Goose) — which are each veiy distinct, (3) the Anatinx or 
Freshwater -Ducks, (-4) those commonly called FuUgulinai or Sea- 
Ducks (Pochard), (5) the Erismaturinx or Spiny-tailed Ducks, and 
(6) the Mergina} (Merganser). Of the Anatinx, which,may be con- 
sidered the typical group, we propose to treat here only, and 
especially of the Anas boscas of Linnaeus, the common AVild Duck, 
which from every point of view is by far the most important 
species, as it is the most plentiful, the most "nadely distributed, and 
the best known — being, Avithout a doubt, the origin of all our 
domestic breeds. It inhabits the greater part of the northern 
hemis])liere, reaching in winter so far as the Isthmus of Panama in 
the New World, and in the Old being aliundant at the same season 
in Egyi)t and India, while in sununer it ranges throughout the Fiu'- 

^ G. R. Gray placed in this group the genus Irene (see Bluebikd), "most 
unfortunately," as Jerdon states {B. Ind. ii. p. 104), and herein all who have 
any knowledge of the subject agree. The position of the genus may bo uncertain, 
but among Passercs one less suitable than this can hardly be found. 

DUCK 169 

Countries, Greenland, Iceland, Lapland, and Siberia. Most of those 
whicli fill our markets are no doubt bred in more northern climes, 
but a considerable proportion of tliem are yet produced in the 
British Islands, though not in anything like the numbers that used 
to be supplied before the draining of the great I^en-country and 
other marshy places. The Wild Duck pairs very early in the year 
— the period being somewhat delayed by hard weather, and the 
ceremonies of courtshijD, Avhich require some little time. Soon after 
these are performed, the respective couples separate in search of 
suitable nesting-places, which are generally found, by those that 
remain with us, about the middle of March. The spot chosen is 
sometimes near a river or pond, but often very far removed from 
water, and it may be under a furze-bush, on a dry heath, at the 
bottom of a thick hedge-row, or even in any convenient hole in a 
tree. A little dry grass is generally collected, and on it the 
eggs, from 9 to 11 in number, are laid. So soon as incubation 
commences the mother begins to divest herself of the down which 
grows thickly beneath her breast-feathers, and adds it to the nest- 
fm^niture, so that the eggs are deeply imbedded in this heat-retain- 
ing substance — a portion of which she is always careful to pull, as 
a coverlet, over her treasures when she quits them for food. She 
is seldom absent from the nest, however, but once, or at most t^vice 
a day, and then she dare not leave it until her mate after several 
circling flights of observation has assured her she may do so un- 
observed. Joining him, the pair betake themselves to some quiet 
spot where she may bathe and otherwise refresh herself. Then 
they return to the nest, and after cautiously reconnoitring the 
neighbourhood, she loses no time in reseating herself on her eggs, 
while he, when she is settled, repairs again to the waters, and passes 
his day listlessly in the company of his brethren, who have the 
same duties, hopes, and cares. Short and infrequent as are the 
absences of the Duck Avhen incubation begins, they become shorter 
and more infrequent toAvards its close, and for the last day or 
two of the 28 necessary to develop the young it is probable 
that she will not stir from the nest at all. AVhen all the fertile 
eggs are hatched her next care is to get the brood safely to the 
water. This, when the distance is great, necessarily demands great 
caution, and so cunningly is it done that but few persons have 
encountered the mother and offspring as they make the dangerous 
journey.^ If disturbed, the young instantly hide as they best can, 
Avhile the mother quacks loudly, feigns lameness, and flutters off to 
divert the attention of the intruder from her brood, who lie niotion- 

■^ When Ducks breed in trees, the precise way in which the young get to the 
ground is still a matter of uncertainty. The mother is supposed to convey them 
in her bill, and very likely does so, but further observation on this point is 


less at her warning notes. Once aiTived at the water they are 
comparatively free from harm, though other perils present them- 
selves from its inmates in the form of Pike and other voracious 
fishes, which seize the Ducklings as they disport in quest of insects 
on the surface or dive beneath it. Throughout the summer the 
Duck continues her care unremittingly, until the young are full 
grown and feathered ; but it is no part of the Mallard's duty to 
look after his offspring, and indeed he speedily becomes incapable 
of helping them, for towards the end of May he begins to undergo 
an additional MoULT, loses the power of flight, and does not regain 
his fvQl plumage till autumn. About harvest-time the young are 
well able to shift for themselves, and then resort to the corn-fields 
at evening, where they fatten on the scattered grain. Towards the 
end of September or beginning of October both old and young 
unite in large flocks and betake themselves to the larger waters, 
many of which are fitted with the ingenious appliances for catching 
them known as decoys.^ These are worked on all favoiurable 
occasions dui'ing the winter, but the numbers taken vary greatly — 
success depending so much on the state of the weather. If long- 
continued frost prevail, most of the Ducks resort to the estuaries 
and tidal rivers, or even leave these islands almost entirely. Soon 
after Christmas the return-flight commences, and then begins anew 
the coiu'se of life already described. 

The- domestication of the Duck is doubtless very ancient, but 
evidence on this head is exceedingly imperfect. Several distinct 
breeds have been established, of which the most esteemed from 
an economical point of view are those known as the Rouen and 
Aylesbiu"y ; but perhaps the most singTilar deviation from the 
normal form is the so-called Penguin-Duck, in AA-hich the bird 
assumes an upright attitude and its Avings are much diminished in 
size. A remarkable breed also is that often named (though quite 
fancifully) the " Buenos- Ayres " Duck, Avherein the whole plumage 
is of a deep black, beautifully glossed or bronzed. But this satiu^a- 
tion, so to speak, of colour only lasts in the individual for a few 
years, and as the birds groAv older they become mottled with 

^ The origin of this word has given rise to a good deal of speculation, but it 
seems to be simply an abbreviation of the Dutch "ccndc-coij" — that is to say, duck- 
cage or netted enclosure — and it is admitted that the use of Decoys was introduced 
into this country from Holland (Spelman's Posthumous Works, ed. Gibson, ii. 
p. 153). If this view be correct, we may justifiably speak of a Decoy-Duck, but 
the expression Duck-Decoy is an intolerable pleonasm. Those who are ciirious 
as to the mode of using Decoys should consult Mr. Southwell's edition of 
Lubbock's Fauna of Norfolk (1879), and Sir R. Payne-Gallway's Book of Duck- 
Decoys (1886), which last is an almost exhaustive treatise on the subject. The 
ordinary descriptions and even figures of a Decoy met with in popular works are 
almost invariably misleading — the writers having no knowledge of tlio practice 
followed, and misrepresenting it accordingly. 


white, though as loi^g as their reproductive power lasts they 
"breed true." The amount of variation in domestic Ducks, hoAv- 
ever, is not comparable to that found among Pigeons, no doubt 
from the absence of the competition which Pigeon-fanciers have so 
long exercised. One of the most curious effects of domestication in 
the Duck, however, is, that whereas the wild Mallard is not only 
strictly monogamous, but, as Waterton believed, a most faithful 
husband — remaining paired for life, the civilized Drake is notori- 
ously polygamous. 

Very nearly allied to the common Wild Duck are a consider- 
aljle number of species found in various parts of the world in 
which there is little difference of plumage between the sexes — both 
being of a dusky hue — such as Anas obscwra of North America, A. 
superciliosa of Australia, A. ])(£cilorliync]ia of India, A. melleri of 
Madagascar, A. xanthorhyncha of South Africa, and some others. 

It would be impossible here to enter upon the other genera of 
Anatinm. "We must content ourselves by saying that both in 
Europe and in North America there are the groups represented- 
by the Shoveler, Garganey, Gadwall, Teal, Pintail, and 
WiGEON — each of which, according to some systematists, is the 
type of a distinct genus. Then there is the group jEx with its 
beautiful representatives the AVood-Duck {jE. sponsa) in America 
and the Mandarin-Duck {Ai. galericidata) in Eastern Asia. Besides 
there are the Sheld-drakes (Tadorna), confined to the Old Woi-ld,^ 
and remarkably developed in the Australian Region ; the Musk- 
Duck (Cavrina) of South America, which is often domesticated, and 

Mji SPONSA. Dendeocygna. 

(After Swainson.) 

in that condition Avill produce fertile hybrids with the common 
Duck ; and finally the Tree-Ducks {Dendrocygna), Avhich are almost 
limited to the Tropics. 

DUCKEE,, see Doucker. 

DULWILLY, said to be a local name of the Ringed Plover, 
A^gialitis hiaticola ; and, according to Prof. Skeat, signifying dull 
of will or stupid, though the application of such a name is not 
obvious. (See, however. Dotterel.) 

^ To tliese belong apparently the genera Cheoialopex and Plectropterus, though 
from their size the species of each bears in English the name of Goose. 


DUNBIRD, DUNCUE or DUKKER, names of the Pochard. 

DUNLIN, tlie common name of the commonest of shore-birds, 
the Tringa alpina and T. cinclus of Linnseus, who, not knowing the 
great seasonal change of plumage it undergoes, took examples in 
their summer dress to be specifically distinct from those in that 
which it wears in winter — an error, long shared by many writers, 
which Montagu in 1813 (Orn. Bid. Appendix) was perhaps the 
first to suspect, though it could hardly be said to have been dis- 
pelled until Temminck in 1815 (3Ian. d'Orn., pp. 395-398) boldly 
united them, calling the species T. variabilis.^ In its breeding-attire 
the Dunlin is a beautiful bird, of a rich reddish-orange above, each 
feather having a dark brown median stripe, with a broad black 
gorget contrasting with the white of the lower plumage. In this 
condition it is generally known to professional gunners as the 
Puree or Stint, though the last name is by authors restricted to 
two or three smaller species. The Dunlin breeds sparingly on the 
higher hills of the western, midland, and northern counties of 
England, and far more abundantly and at lower levels in Scotland, 
as well as on the continent from Holland northwards. The ordin- 
ary form of Dunlin from the New World has been described 
as distinct under the name of T. americana, and examples of it are 
constantly larger than those of Europe, though there is no other 
difference between them. A smaller form of Dunlin, by some 
■writers accounted a species, the T. schinzi of Brehm,^ also occurs 
not very rarely on our coasts, and generally in flocks by itself. It 
is said to breed on the Cimbric peninsula, but nothing is known of 
the limits of its range, and at present it cannot be deemed with 
certainty to be even a local race. In the pairing- season the cock 
Dunlin, like most of his allies, exercises himself in peculiar flights, 
and in the course of them utters a singular whistle, which soimds 
like the for-a-time continuous ringing of a small bell with a shrill 
note, aiid notwithstanding its high pitch is pleasing to the ear. 
The nest is a simple depression in the ground, to some extent 
furnished or enclosed by grass, leaves, or the like, as incubation 
proceeds ; and therein are laid four eggs, generally of great beauty, 
with, varied spots or blotches, but presenting so many differences 
that description of them is here impossible. Towards "winter Dun- 
lins flock in thousands to our shores, especially those which are 
fringed by extensive mud-flats, and are thus exposed to much per- 
secution on the part of fowlers, both by the gun and the net. In 
an aviary they bear confinement well, and at the proper season will 
assume their nuptial plumage. 

^ This was already a synonym of T. alpina, for in ISIO BernharJ Jleyer had 
so applied it {Taschenh. deutsch. Vogcl, ii. p. 397). 

^ Not to be confounded with the T. schinzi of Bonaparte, now known as T. 
bonapariii, a North- American species belonging to a dilfcrent group of the genus. 


DUNNOCK, a local name of the Hedge-SPARROW. 

DUNTEK, generally with the addition of " Goose," a name of 

the ElDER-DUCK. 

DYSPOROMOEPH^, the third "Family" of Desmognathous 
birds according to Prof. Huxley's classification {Froc. Zool. Soc. 
1867, pp. 438-440, 461, 462) answering to the Steganopodes of 
Illiger, and including two groups, the Pelicanidm in a restricted sense, 
and then all the rest — CORMORANTS, Snake-birds, Frigate-birds 
and Tropic Birds. Whatever be the shape of the bill in all these, 
and it varies much, the exterior nares are very small, there are 
no basipterygoid processes ; while, behind the posterior nares, the 
palatals unite for a considerable distance ; and other characters are 


EAGLE (French Aigle, from the Latin Aqiiila), the name 
generally given to the larger diurnal Birds-of-Prey which are not 
Vultures ; but the limits of the subfamily Aquilinse have been very 
variously assigned by different writers on systematic ornithology, 
and, as elsewhere observed (Buzzard), there are Eagles smaller 
than certain Buzzards. By some authorities the L^MMERGEIER of 
the Alps, and other high mountains of Europe, North Africa, and 
Asia, is accounted an Eagle, but by others the genus Gypaehis is 
placed with the VuUurida}, as its common English name (Bearded 
Vulture) sheAvs. There are also other forms, such as the South- 
American Harpy and its allies, which though generally called 
Eagles have been ranked as Buzzards. In the absence of any 
truly scientific definition of the Aquilinse,'^ it is best to leave these 
and many other more or less questionable members of the group — 
such as the genera Spizaetus, Circaetus, Spilornis, Helotarsus, and so 
forth — and, so far as space will allow, to treat here of those whose 
position cannot be gainsaid. 

Eagles inhabit all the Regions of the world except New Zealand, 
and some seven or more species are found in Europe, of which two 
are resident in the British Islands. In England and in the Low- 
lands of Scotland Eagles only exist as stragglers ; but in the 
Hebrides and some parts of the Highlands a good many may yet 
be found ; and, though one species is verging upon extermination 
as a native, the numbers of the other appear to have rather 

^ The nearest approach to a characteristic is perhaps that afforded by the 
elongated head, and bill straight at the base, as before remarked {supra, p. 67) ; 
but this is possibly not unfailing. 



increased of late years than diminished ; for the foresters and shep- 
herds, finding that a high price can be got for their eggs, take care 
to protect the owners of the eyries, which are nearly all well 
known, and to keep up the stock by allo^Wng them at times to rear 
their young. There are also now not a few occupiers of Scottish 
forests who interfere so far as they can to protect the "king of 
birds." But hardly thirty years ago resort was had mthout stint 
to trapping, poisoning, and other destructive devices, and there 

Sea-Eaole. (After Wolf.) 

was then every probability that before long not an Eagle of any 
kind would be left to add the wild majesty of its appearance to 
the associations of the mountain, the cliff, or the lake.^ In Ireland 

^ The late Lord Breadalbane (John, 2nd Marquess of tlie first creation, and 
5th Earl) who died in 1862, was perhaps the first large landowner who set the 
example that has been since followed by others. On his unrivalled forest of 
Black Mount, Eagles — elsewhere persecuted to tlie death — were by him ordered 
to be unmolested so long as they were not numerous enough to cause considor- 
a])le depredations on the farmers' Hocks. He thought, and all who have an eye 
for the hurniouies of nature will agree with him, that the spectacle of a soaring 



the extirpation of Eagles seems to have been carried on almost 
imafFected by the prudent considerations which in the northern 
kingdom have operated so favoxu-ably for the race, and except in 
the wildest parts of Donegal, Mayo, and Kerry, Eagles in the- 
sister-island are said to be birds of the past. 

Of the two British species the Erne (Icel. ^rn) or Sea-Eagle 
(by some called also the White-tailed and Cinereous Eagle), Haliaetus 
albicilla, has of late years suffered severe persecution, so that at 
the present time there is probably not a single pair left on the 
mainland of Scotland, while not fifty years ago it frequented almost 
every steep headland on our northern shores. Affecting chiefly the 
coast, mostly building its nest on sea- cliffs, it has been at the 
mercy of any adventurer, and in the absence of the protection 
Avhich the practice of deer-stalking has afforded the other native 
species, it has been ruthlessly destroyed, and apparently to the 
benefit of nobody in particular, for the species lives in great part 
on the fish and refuse that is thrown up on the shore, though it 
not unfrequently takes living prey, such as lambs, hares, and 
rabbits. On these last, indeed, young examples mostly feed 
when they wander southward in autumn, as they yearly do, and 
appear in England. The adults are distinguished by their prevalent 
greyish-brown colour, their pale head, yellow beak, and white tail 
— characters, however, wanting in the immature, which do not 
assume the perfect plumage for some three or four years. The 
eyry is commonly placed in a high cliff or on an island in a lake — 
sometimes on the ground, at others in a tree — and consists of a 
vast mass of sticks, in the midst of which is formed a hollow lined 
with Luzula sylvatica (as first observed by the late Mr. John AVoUey) 
or some similar grass, and here are laid the two or three white 
eggs. In former days the Sea-Eagle seems to have bred in several 
parts of England — as the Lake district, and possibly even in the 
Isle of Wight and on Dartmoor. This species inhabits all the 
northern part of the Old World from Iceland to Kamchatka, 
and breeds in Europe so far to the southward as Albania. It 
is also found in Greenland ; but is replaced in the New World 
by the White-headed or Bald Eagle, H. leucocephalus, a bird of 
similar habits, and the chosen emblem of the United States of 
America. In the far east of Asia occurs a still larger and finer 
Sea-Eagle, H. pelagicus, remarkable for its white thighs and upper 
wing-coverts. South-eastern Europe and India furnish a much 
smaller species, H. leucoryphiis, Avhich has its representative, H. 

Eagle was a fitting adjunct to the grandeur of his Argyllshire mountain-scenery, 
and a good equivalent for the occasional loss of a lamb, or the slight deduction 
from the rent paid by his tenantry in consequence. How faithfully his wishes 
were carried out by his head-forester, the late Peter Robertson, the present 
AVTiter has abundant means of knowincr. 



leucogaster, in ttie Malay Archipelago and Australia, and, as allies 
in South Africa and Madagascar, H. vocifer and H. vociferoides 
respectively. All these Eagles ^ may be distinguished by their scaly 
tarsi, Avhile the group next to be treated of have the tarsi feathered 
to the toes. 

The Golden or Mountain-Eagle, Aquila chrysaetus, is the second 
British species. This also formerly inhabited England, and a nest, 
found in 1668 in the Peak of Derbyshire, is well described by 

Golden Eagle. (After Wolf.) 

Willughby, in whose time it was said to breed also in the Snowdon 
range. It seldom if ever frequents the coast, and is more active 
on the Aving than the Sea-Eagle, being able to take some birds as 
they fly, but a large part of its sustenance is the flesh of animals 
that die a natural death. Its cyry is generally pbu-ed and built 
like tliat of the other British species,- but the neighbourhood of 

' ]\Iucli resGinbling tliem are the species separated to form the genus 
Jlcdiasiur, which some authorities regard as more nearly allied to the KiTKS. 
" As already stated, the site chosen varies greatly. Occasionally placed in a 

EAGLE 177 

water is not requisite. The eggs, from two to four in number, 
vary from a pure Avhite to a mottled, and often highly-coloured, 
surface, on which appear different shades of red and purple. The 
adult bird is of a rich, dark brown, with the elongated feathers of 
the neck, especially on the nape, light tawny, in which imagination 
sees a " golden " hue, and the tail marbled with brown and ashy- 
grey. In the young the tail is white at the base, whence in this 
stage it has been often called the Eing-tailed Eagle, and the neck 
has scarcely any tawny tint. The Golden Eagle does not occur in 
Iceland, but occupies suitable situations over the rest of the 
Palaearctic area and a considerable portion of the Nearctic — -though 
the American bird has been, by some, considered a distinct species. 
Domesticated, it has many times been trained to take prey for 
its master in Europe, and to this species is thought to belong an 
Eagle habitually used by the Kirgiz Tartars, who call it Bergut or 
Bearcoot,'^ for the captui-e of antelopes, foxes, and wolves. It is 
carried hooded on horseback or on a perch between two men, and 
released when the quarry is in sight. Such a bird, when well 
trained, is valued, says Pallas, at the price of two camels. It is 
quite possible, however, that more than one kind of Eagle is thus 
used, and the services of A. heliaca (which is the Imperial Eagle of 
some writers ^) and of A. mogilniJc — both of which are found in 
Central Asia, as well as in South-eastern Europe — may also be 

Of the other more or less nearly allied species or races want of 
room forbids the consideration, but there is a smaller form on 
which a few words may be said. This has usually gone under the 
name of A. nsevia or Spotted Eagle, but is now thought by the best 
ar!«thorities to include three local races, or, in the eyes of some, 
species. They inhabit Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia to 
India, and five examples of one of them — A. danga, the form which 
is somewhat plentiful in North-eastern Germany — have occurred in 
England. The smallest true Eagle is A. pennata, which inhabits 
Southern Europe, Africa, and India. Differing from other Eagles 
of this genus by its wedge-shaped tail, though otherwise greatly 
resembling them, is the A. aiidaz of Australia. Lastly may be 

niche in what passes for a perpendicular cliff to which access could only be 
gained by a skilful cragsman with a rope, the writer has known a nest to wathin 
ten or fifteen yards of which he rode on a pony. Two beautiful views of as many 
Golden Eagles' nests, drawn on the spot by Mr. Wolf, are given in the Ootheca 
WoUeyana, and a fine series of eggs is also figured in the same work. 

^ The similarity between this name and the "Welsh Bareud, said by Pennant 
{Brit. Zool. Ed. 4, ii. pp. 620, 621) to be Kite or Harrier, but, as Lord Lilford 
informs me, really equivalent to Buzzard, is worth noting. 

^ Which species may have been the traditional emblem of Roman power, and 
the Ales Jovis, is very uncertain. 


178 EAR 

noticed here a small group of Eagles, characterized by their long 
legs, forming the genus Nisaetus, of which one species, N. fasciatus 
or honellii, is found in Europe. The OsPREY (Pandion), though 
placed by many among the Aquiline, certainly does not belong to 
that subfamily. 

EAR. The whole auditory apparatus is divided into the outer, 
middle, and inner ear. 

The outer ear or " auditory meatus " is a short, membranous, and 
sometimes partly cartilaginous tube. The outer opening is generally 
covered by feathers, and rarely naked as in Vultures and Ostriches. 
The feathers which surround the ear are often more or less reduced, 
and occasionally assume the shape of bristles. There is no external 
ear or " concha auris," but a more or less prominent fold projects 
from the outer margin into the meatus, and seems to be used as 
a sort of imperfect valve, especially since it possesses several little 
muscles. Such a valvular fold attains its largest development in 
Owls. Many of these birds present the peculiar anomaly of 
having the outer ears very asymmetrically developed, an asym- 
metry which often affects also the whole of the temporal region 
together with the squamosal, quadrate, and neighbouring bones, 
so that the whole skull assumes a lop - sided shape. CoUett 
(Christiania VidensJcahs. Forhandl. 1881, No. 3, pp. 1-38, pis. i.-iii.) 
has examined this point in all the North-European species of Owl. 
According to him there are three different formations : 1. Skull 
and auditory meatus symmetrical, ear -valve absent : Surnia 
funerea, Glaucidium passerinum, Nyctea scandiaca, Bubo ignavus. 
2. Skull symmetrical, meatus asymmetrical, ear- valve present : Asio 
accipitrinus, A. otus, Strix aluco. 3. Skull and meatus asym- 
metrical, ear- valve present : Strix uralensis, S. lapponica, and 
Nyctala tengmalmi. Of other, not North -European, Owls, Aluco 
flammeus belongs to the first group.^ 

Another peculiar modification is exhibited by the Capercally. 
It is well known that the cock for several seconds towards the end 
of his rutting ecstasy is completely deaf to any external sounds. 
This deafness is produced by an erectile fold of the posterior wall 
of the auditory meatus ; this fold or flap becomes turgid vnth. 
blood during the excitement of the bird, and seems moreover to 
be assisted in pressing upon the opposite margin of the quadrate 
bone, and in thus effectively closing the ear-passage, by the action 
of the digastric or depressor muscle of the mandible Avhich is 
always widely opened during this stage. The harsh and loud 
sounds emitted by the cock, and the blocked car-passage render 
him absolutely iiuliffercut to any other sounds. (See Graft' and 

^ A largo number of figures of North- American species in illustration of this 
point is given by liidgway {North American Birds, iii. pp. 97-102). 



Wurm, Zeitschr. f. tviss. Zoologie, 1885, pp. 107-115, Taf. vii., and 
pp. 728-730.) 

The middle ear consists of the tympanic cavity, its communi- 
cation "with the cavity of the mouth through the "Eustachian tube," 
and the sound-conducting apparatus— the " tympanic membrane " 
and the " columella auris." 

The tympanic membrane or drum is thin and stretched across 
the walls of the inner end of the auditory meatus, and shuts 
off the latter from the tympanic cavity. This cavity communi- 
cates with the mouth through a canal — the Eustachian tube, which 
passes between the basisphenoid and basioccipital bones, and 
opens upon the ventral side of the sphenoid a little behind the 
latter's articulation with the pterygoid bone. The right and left 


Hind View of the Osseous Auditory Oboan op an Owl {Jivho indranec). 

About twice the natural size. 

Cd. Occipital condyle ; P.M. Foramen magnum ; L, Lagena ; Pter. Eight pterygoid bone ; 

Q, Quadrate bone ; H, S, Horizontal and Sagittal, semicircular canals ; Co, Columella auris, its 

extra-columellar xiortion continued towards the basis of the quadrate ; Tb.Eust, Eustachian tube. 

canals unite in the middle line into one short membranous duct, 
which opens in the roof of the posterior jDart of the mouth cavity. 

The columella is a cartilaginous and partly osseous jointed rod, 
■ which fits with its inner slightly-swollen and disk-like end into the 
" foramen ovale " of the capsule of the inner ear. The outer end 
of this rod sends out three cartilaginous processes ; the dorsal 
one is attached to the upper wall of the tympanic cavity close to 
the drum ; the outermost process leans against the middle of the 
drum, and consequently conveys the vibrations of the latter 
through the whole rod into the inner ear ; the ventral process is 
directed downwards, and runs out into a thin thread which can be 
traced between pterygoid and quadrate into the inner corner of the 
articular portion of the mandible. 

i8o EAR 

Birds possess one muscle belonging to the middle ear ; this 
muscle acts as a tensor tympani ; it arises near the occipital con- 
dyle, passes through a hole into the tympanic cavity, attaches its 
tendon to the ends of the columellar processes, and also spreads 
over the tympanum itself. 

The whole columella of Bkds is equivalent to the chain of ear- 
ossicles of Mammals, the inner end of the columellar rod repre- 
senting the stapes, while the outer and lower processes of the 
tympanic end correspond with the manubrium and the long process 
of the Mammalian malleus. The quadrate bone, so well developed, 
and functional as the hinge of the masticatory apparatus in Reptiles 
and Birds, has in Mammals lost this function, and in them is 
reduced and modified into the comparatively insignificant tympanic 
ring, acting only as a frame for the tympanic membrane. 

The inner ear is the most important portion of the whole ear, 
because it contains the sound-perceiving apparatus. It consists of 
the labyrinth or membranous capsule which encloses the end-organs 
of the auditory nerve, and of the cartilaginous or osseous capsule 
which surrounds and protects the membranous organs. The outer 
capsule is consequently more or less a cast of the other, and repeats 
all its principal complicated configurations. 

The membranous ear is a system of hollow tubes which form 
various labyrinthic dilatations and canals, all of which communicate 
Avith each other. The whole is divided into — I. pars superior, 
consisting of an utriculus, two sinus, three ampullae, and three semi- 
circular canals ; each canal connects one ampulla with one of the 
two sinus ; the anterior canal runs in a vertical and longitudinal 
plane, the posterior canal lies in a transverse vertical plane, extend- 
ing from right to left, while the external canal stretches out in 
a nearly horizontal direction ; II. jxirs inferior, consisting of the 
cochlea and the sacculus Avith the endolymphatic duct. The sac- 
culus is a small dilatation or appendix of the utriculus ; its walls 
are continued as the endolymphatic duct straight into the cranial 
cavity, ending in the dura mater in the shape of a flattened sac. 
This peculiar arrangement is an imperfect remnant of pre^aous con- 
ditions ; because in Selachians the endolymphatic duct of each ear 
opens upon the top of the head, through the skin, and indicates the 
way by Avhich the primitive ear-capsule (itself, like all the higher 
sense-organs, a modification of epidermal and neural cells) has 
gradually become transferred into the depth of the skull. 

The cochlea ends blindly, A^dth its apex toAvards the occipital 
condyle ; instead of being curled into several turns as in Mammals, 
it forms in Birds never more than, and often much less than, 
half a tAvist. Its internal structure is most complicated and 
intimately connected Avith the perception of sound, through the 
possession of "Eeissner's membrane" and the "organ of Corti." 


The position of these parts is shewn in the adjoining fig-ure. 

The basal portion of the membi"anous cochlea, the "ductus coch- 

learis," communicates with the sacculus by a canal, the dorsal wall 

of which is continued into the 

tegmentum vasculosum or 

membrane of Reissner, while 

the ventral wall contains the 

basilar membrane, with its 

.acoustic papilla or organ of 

Corti. The space between the 

periosteum of the bony wall of 

the cochlea and the tegmentum 

is called " scala vestibuli " ; 

that between the bone and the 

1 -1 1 • ii ££ 1 Vertical Median Section of the Cochlea 

basilar membrane is the scala ^^ ^ p^^^^^^ ,^^^^,1,,^ so times. (After Eetzius.) 

tympani. j3 jj,_ Blood-vessels ; G. Ganglia in the ramus 

The SCalse are part of the basilaris of tlie cochlear portion of the acoustic 

perilymphatic space between SlLttf.f.Sr«.S:r.t"«r; 

the membranous and the bony p.a.S. Papilla acustica basilaris ; Per. Periost of 

inner ear, and are filled with ti^e cochlea; Scv. Scaia vestibuli; &c.t. Scaia 

,1 -i 1 X- J3 • 1 tympani; T. v. Tegmentum vasculosum. 

the perilymphatic liuid. 

The acoustic nerve enters the membranous ear near the base of 
the cochlea, and terminates by eight maculse, papillae, and crista 
acusticae in the ampullar and various other dilatations. The cells of 
these terminating nervous spots are cylindrical, and end in one or 
more extremely fine filaments or hairs ; they extend into the 
endolymphatic fluid, which fills the whole membranous ear, and 
contains, especially in the sacculus, numerous small otolithic crystals 
of carbonate of lime. The filamentous and hairy cells take up the 
vibrations or waves of sound which, are transmitted from the 
typanum through the columella to the endolymphatic fluid, and 
convey them through the acoustic nerve to the brain. 

The whole inner ear is subject to comparatively few and unim- 
portant variations, and does not throw much light upon the 
affinities of the vaiious groups of Birds, the difterences being 
restricted chiefly to the relative size of the cochlea and the position 
and size of the semicircular canals. It cannot be doubted that the 
faculty of hearing is highly developed in Birds, not only the mere 
perception of sound, but also the power of distinguishing or under- 
standing pitch, notes and melodies, or music. 

For further information concerning the minute structure of the 
ear, see the monumental work of G. Eetzius {Das Gehororgan der 
JFirbeWiiere, Stockholm: 1884, ii. pp. 139-198, pis. 15-20). 

EASTERLING, according to Latham, a local name for the 




EBB, said to be a local name of the Great Bunting. 

EBB-SLEEPER, a name given by shore -gunners to various 
kinds of LiMiGOL^, though, except on the principle of Incus a non 
lucendo, the reason why cannot be explained, for these birds at ebb- 
tide are especially active, while they take their rest as high water 
approaches ; but so it is. 

EDOLIER, Levaillant's name for a South-African Shrike which 
some writers have tried to Anglify. 

EEE-EVE, in modern spelling liwi, the English rendering by 
many voyagers of the native name of the beautiful scarlet Vestiaria 
coccinea, whose feathers were largely used by the Sandwich-islanders 
in the making of their magnificent mantles (cf. Drepanis). 

EGG-BIRD, the name given by many voyagers to the Sooty 
Tern, Sterna fuUginosa, but perhaps occasionally used for other 
species whose eggs afforded them supplies. ^ 

EGGS. The pains bestowed by such Birds (incomparably the 
most numerous of the Class), as build elaborate nests (see NlDinCA- 
tion), and the devices employed by those that, not doing so, display 
no little skill in providing for the preservation of their produce, 
invite some attention to the eggs which they lay. This attention 
mil perhaps be more cheerfully given when we think how many 
naturalists, not merely ornithologists, have been first directed to 
the study of the animal kingdom by the spoils they have won in 
their early days of birds' -nesting. With some such men the 
fascination of this boyish pursuit has maintained its full force even 
in old age — a fact not so much to be wondered at when it is con- 
sidered that hardly any branch of the practical study of Natiual 
History brings the enquirer so closely in contact with many of its 
secrets. It is therefore eminently pardonable for the victims of 
this devotion to dignify their passion by the learned name of 
" Oology," and to bespeak for it the claims of a science. Yet the 
present writer — once an ardent follower of the practice of birds'- 
nesting, and still on occasion warming to its pleasures — must 
confess to a certain amount of disappointment as to the benefits 
it was expected to confer on Systematic Ornithology, though he 
yields to none in his high estimate of its utility in acquainting the 
learner with the most interesting details of bird-life — without a 
knowledge of which nearly all systematic study is but work that 
may as well be done in a library, a museum, or a dissecting-room, 
and is incapable of conveying information to the learner concerning 
the why and the wherefore of such or such modifications and 
adaptations of structure. To some — and especially to those who 
arc only anatomists — this statement may seem preposterous, but it 

EGGS 183 

is in truth no such thing. What engineer can be said to understand 
his business if he knows not the purpose to which the machines he 
makes are to be applied and is unacquainted with their mode of 
working ? We may investigate thoroughly the organs of any 
animal, we may trace them from the earliest moment in which they 
become defined, and watch them as they develop to maturity, we 
may comprehend the way in which every part of a complicated 
structure is successively built up ; but, if we take not the trouble 
to know their effect on the economy of the creature, we as natural- 
ists have done but half our task, and abandon our labour when the 
fulness of reward is coming upon us. The field-naturalist, properly 
instructed, crowns the work of the comparative anatomist and the 
physiologist, though without the necessary education he is little 
more than an empiric, even should he possess the trained cunning 
of the savage on whose knowledge of the habits of wild animals 
depends his chance of procuring a meal. 

Perhaps the greatest scientific triumph of oologists lies in their 
having fully appreciated the intimate alliance of the LiMlCOL^ (the 
great group of Snipes and Plovers) with the Gavi^ (the Gulls, 
Terns, and other birds more distantly connected with them) before 
it was recognized by any professed taxonomer — L'Herminier, whose 
researches have been much overlooked, excepted ; though to such 
an one was given the privilege of placing that affinity beyond cavil 
(Huxley, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, pp. 426, 456-458; cf.IUs, 1868, 
p. 92). In like manner it is believed that oologists first saw the 
need of separating from the true Passeres several groups of birds 
that had for many years been unhesitatingly associated with that 
very uniform assemblage. Diffidence as to their own capacity for 
meddling with matters of systematic arrangement may possibly 
have been the cause which deterred the men who were content to 
brood over birds' eggs from sooner asserting the validity of the 
views they held. Following the example furnished by the objects 
of their study, they seem to have chiefly sought to hide their ofi"- 
spring from the curious eye — and if such was their design it must 
be allowed to have been admirably successful. In enthusiastic zeal 
for the prosecution of their favourite researches, however, they have 
never yielded to, if they have not surpassed, any other class of 
naturalists. If a storm-swept island, only to be reached at the risk 
of life, held out the hope of some oological novelty there was the 
egg-collector (Faber, his, xx. pp. 633-688; Proctor, Naturalist, 
1838, pp. 411, 412), Did another treasure demand his traversing 
a bm-ning desert (Tristram, Ihis, 1859, p. 79) or sojourning for 
several winters within the wildest wastes of the Arctic Circle 
(Wolley, lUs, 1859, pp. 69-76; 1861, pp. 92-106; Kennicott, 
Bep. Smithson. Inst. 1862, pp. 39, 40), he endured the necessary 
hardships to accomplish his end, and the possession to him of an 

1 84 EGGS 

empty shell of carbonate of lime/ stained or not (as the case might 
be) by a secretion of the villous membrane of the parent's uterus, 
was to him a sufficient reward. Taxonomers, however, have prob- 
ably been right in not attaching too great an importance to such 
systematic characters as can be deduced from the eggs of birds, but 
it would have been better had they not insisted so strongly as they 
have done on the infallibility of one or another set of characters, 
chosen by themselves. Oology taken alone proves to be a guide 
as misleading as any other arbitrary method of classification, but 
combined with the evidence afforded by due study of other particu- 
larities, whether superficial or deep-seated, it can scarcely fail in 
time to conduct us to an ornithological arrangement as nearly true 
to Nature as we may expect to achieve. 

The first man of science who seems to have given any special 
thought to oology, was the celebrated Sir Thomas Browne, of 
Norwich, who already in 1671, when visited by John Evelyn 
(from whose diary we learn the fact), had assigned a place in his 
cabinet of rarities to a collection of birds' eggs. The next we hear 
of is that Count of Marsigli who early in the eighteenth century 
explored, chiefly for this kind of investigation, the valley of the 
Danube — a region at that time, it is almost unnecessary to remark, 
utterly unknown to naturalists. But there is no need to catalogue 
the worthies of this study. As they approach our own day their 
number becomes far too great to tell, and if very recently it has 
seemed to dwindle the reason is probably at hand in the reflexion 
that most of the greatest prizes have been won, while those that 
remain to reward the aspiring appear to be just now from one cause 
or another almost out of reach. Perhaps at the present time the 
Birds-of-Paradise and the Fin-foots form the only groups of any 
recognized distinctiveness and extent of whose eggs we know 
absolutely nothing — though there are important isolated forms, 
such as Atrichia, Heteraloclia, and others, concerning the eggs as 
well as the breeding-habits of which our ignorance is absolute, and 
the species of many Families that have hitherto defied the zeal of 
oologists are very numerous. These last, however, though including 
some common and some not very uncommon British birds, possess 
in a general way comparatively little interest, since, the eggs of 
their nearest allies being well known, we cannot exj)ect much to 
follow from the discovery of the recluses, and it is only to the 
impassioned collector that the obtaining of such desiderata mil 
afford much satisfaction. 

The first thing which strikes the eye of one Avho beholds a large 
collection of egg-shells is the varied hues of the specimens. Hardly 
a shade known to the colourist is not exhibited by one or more, 

^ A small projDortion of carbonate of magnesia and phosphate of lime and 
magnesia also enters into its composition. 

EGGS 185 

and some of these tints have their beauty enhanced by the glossy 
surface on which they are displayed, by their harmonious blending, 
or by the pleasing contrast of the pigments which form markings 
as often of the most irregular as of regular shape. But it would 
seem as though such markings, which a very small amount of 
observation will shew to have been deposited on the shell a short 
time before its exclusion, are primarily and normally circular, for 
hardly any egg that bears markings at all does not exhibit some 
spots of that form, but that in the progress of the egg, through that 
part of the oviduct in which the colouring matter is laid on, many 
of them become smeared, blotched, or protracted in some particular 
direction. The circular spots thus betoken the deposition of the 
pigment while the egg is at rest, the blurred markings shew its 
deposition while the egg is in motion, and this motion Avould seem 
often to be at once onward and rotatory, as indicated by the spiral 
markings not uncommonly observable in the eggs of some Birds-of- 
Prey and others — the larger end of the egg (when the ends differ 
in form) making way for the smaller.^ At the same time the eggs 
of a great number of birds bear, beside these last and superimposed 
markings, more deeply-seated stains, generally of a paler and often 
of an altogether different hue, and these are evidently due to some 
earlier dyeing process. The peculiar tint of the ground-colour, 
though commonly superficial, when not actually congenital with the 
formation of the shell, would appear to be suffused soon after. 
The depth of colouring whether original or supervening is obviously 
dependent in a great measure on the constitution or bodily con- 
dition of the parent. If a bird, bearing in its oviduct a fully-formed 
egg, be captured, that egg will speedily be laid under any circum- 
stances of inconvenience to which its producer shall be subjected, 
but such an egg is usually deficient in coloration — fright and 
captivity having arrested the natural secretions. In like manner 
over excitement or debility of the organs, the consequence of ill 
health, give rise to much and often very curious abnormality. It 
is commonly believed that the older a bird is the more intensely 
coloured will be its eggs, and to some extent this belief appears to 
be true. Certain Fakonidx, which ordinarily lay very brilliantly- 
tinted eggs, and are therefore good tests, seem when young not to 
secrete so much colouring-matter as they do when older, and season 
after season the dyes become deeper, but there is reason to think 

•^ That the larger end is protruded first was found on actual experiment by 
Mr. Bartlett, Superintendent of the Gardens of the Zoological Society, to be the 
case commonly, but as an accident the position may be sometimes reversed, and 
this will most likely account for the occasional deposition of markings on the 
smaller instead of the larger end as not unfrequently shewn in eggs of the 
Sparrow-HAWK, Accipiter nisus. The head of the chick is always formed at the 
larger end (see Embryology). 

i86 EGGS 

that when the bird has attained her full vigour improvement stops, 
and a few years later the intensity of hue begins to decline. It 
would be well if we had more evidence, however, in support of this 
opinion, which is chiefly based on a series of eggs of one species — 
the Golden Eagle, Aquila clirysaetus, in the writer's possession, 
among which are some believed on good grounds to have been the 
produce in the coinrse of about twelve years of one and the same 
female. The amount of colouring-matter secreted and deposited 
seems notwithstanding to be generally a pretty constant quantity — 
allowance being made for individual constitution ; but it often 
happens — especially in birds that lay only two eggs — that nearly 
all the dye will be deposited on one of these, leaving the other 
colourless ; it seems, however, to be a matter of inconstancy which 
of the two is first developed. Thus of two pairs of Golden Eagles' 
eggs also in the possession of the writer, one specimen of each pair 
is nearly white while the other is deeply coloured, and it is known 
that in one case the white egg was laid first and in the other the 
coloured one. When birds lay many mottled, and a fortiori plain, 
eggs, there is generally less difference in their coloming, and though 
no two can hardly ever be said to be really alike, yet the family- 
resemblance between them all is obvious to the practised eye. It 
would seem, however, to be a peculiarity with some species — and 
the Tree-SPARROW, Passer montanus, which lays five or six eggs, 
may be taken as a striking example — that one egg should always 
differ remarkably from the rest of the clutch. In addition to what 
has been said above as to the deposition of colour in circular spots 
indicating a pause in the progress of the egg through one part of 
the oviduct, it may be observed that the cessation of motion at 
that time is equally shewn by the clearly defined hair-lines or 
vermiculations seen in many eggs, and in none more commonly met 
with than in those of most Buntings, Emlerizidx. Such markings 
must not only have been deposited while the egg was at rest, but 
it must have remained motionless until the pigment was completely 
set, or blurred instead of sharp edges would have been the result.^ 

^ The principal oological works with coloured figures are the following : 
Thienemann, FortpfianzungsgescMchte der gesammten Vogel (4to, Leipzig : 18-15) ; 
Lefevre, Atlas des mufs des oiseaux d' Europe (8vo, Paris : 1845) ; Hewitsou, 
Coloured Illustrations of the Eggs of British Birds (8vo, Ed. 3, London : 1856) ; 
Brewer, North American Oology (4to, "Washington : 1859) ; Taczanowski, Oologia, 
Ptalc6w Polshich (8vo, Warszawa : 1862); Badeker, Die Eier der Europdischcn 
Vogel (fol. Leipzig : 1863) ; Wolley, Ootheca JFollcyana (8vo, London : 1864) — 
some of which have never been completed. The above is not, and does not 
profess to be, an exhaustive list, and perhaps some others deserve inclusion in 
it ; but there ;are works, chiefly on British oology, which have unfortunately 
attained considerable notoriety, though really unwortliy of serious notice, either 
from the recklessly inaccurate statements to be found in the text which accom- 
panies the plates, or the misleading tendencies of the plates. I prefer jiassing 

EGGS 187 

The coDiposition of this pigment long excited much curiosity, 
and it was commonly and rather crudely ascribed to secretions of 
the blood or bile/ but unexpected light was shed upon the subject 
by the researches of Mr. Sorby (Proc. Zool. Soc. 1875, pp. 351-365), 
who, using the method of spectrum-analysis, ascertained the exist- 
ence of seven well-marked substances in the colouring-matter of 
eggs, to the admixture of v/hich in certain proportions all their 
tints are due. These he named Oorhodeine, Oocyan, Banded 
Oocyan, Yellow Ooxanthine, Eufous Ooxanthine, a sixth substance, 
giving narrow absorption-bands in the red — the true colour of which 
is not yet decided, and lastly Lichenoxanthine. It would be out 
of place here to particularize their chemical properties, and it is 
enough to say that they are closely connected either with haemo- 
globin or bile-pigments, and in many respects resemble the latter 
more than do any other group of colouring-matters, but do not 
actually agree with them. The first is perhaps the most important 
of all the seven, because it occurs more or less in the shells of so 
great a number of eggs that its entire absence is exceptional, and 
it is of a very permanent character, its general colour being of a 
peculiar brown-red. The second and third seem when pure to be 
of a very fine blue, but the spectrum of the former shews no 
detached bands, while that of the latter has a well-marked detached 
absorbent-band near the red end, though the two are closely related 
since they yield the same product when oxidized. The fourth and 
fifth substances supply a bright yellow or reddish-yellow hue, and 
the former is particularly characteristic of eggs of the EaiEUS, 
Dromxus, giving rise when mixed with Oocyan to the fine malachite- 
green which they possess, while the latter has only been met mth 
in those of the TiNMious, Tinamidse, in which it should be 
mentioned that oorhodeine has not been found, or perhaps in those 
of a Cassowary, Casuarius, and when mixed ■with Oocyan produces 
a peculiar lead-colour. The sixth substance, as before stated, has 
not yet been sufiiciently determined, but it would seem in combina- 
tion with others to give them an abnormally browner tint ; and the 
seventh appears to be identical with one which occurs in greater or 
less amount in almost all classes of plants, but is more especially 
abundant in and characteristic of lichens and fungi. There is a 
possibility, however, of this last being in part if not wholly due to 
the growth of minute fungi, though Mr. Sorby believed that some 
such substance really is a normal constituent of the shell of eggs 
having a peculiar brick-red colour. He was further inclined to 

over them in silence to exposing their inefficiency. A great number of rare 
eggs are also figured in various journals, as the Proceedings of the Zoological 
Society, Nauviannia, the Journal fur Ornitliologie, and The Ibis. 

^ Cf. "Wilke, Naumannia, 1858, jjp. 393-397, and C. Leconte, Revue et 
Magasin de Zoologie, 1860, pp. 199-205. 

1 88 EGGS 

think that Oorhodeine is in some way or other closely related to 
Cruentine, being probably derived from the red colouring-matter 
of the blood by some unknown process of secretion, and likewise that 
there is some chemical relation between the Oocyans and the bile. 

It was remarked by Hewitson in 1838 {Brit. Oology, Introd. p. 8), 
and perhaps he was not the first to make the observation, that 
the eggs of many if not of most birds which breed in holes, or 
even in covered nests, are of an uniform white ; but the number of 
exceptions is so great, that no general rule can be laid down to this 
effect. Conversely, the number of birds which lay purely white 
eggs in open nests — the multitudinous species of Pigeon being 
notorious instances of the fact^ — is also large, and in some respects 
quite independent of their taxonomic relations, as, for example, the 
Little Bittern among the Ardeidse, the Virginian Quail among 
the so-called " Odontophorinx," and again among the Gallinm even 
the Common Fowl, though some of its breeds, perhaps acted upon by 
what is known as " reversion," lay coloured eggs. The eggs of Owls 
are always white, whether the species be one that breeds in holes, 
on the bare ground, or in an open nest in a tree. The egg of the 
G OS-Hawk is white, but that of its small relative the Sparrow- 
Hawk is always blotched, and sometimes richly, with pigment, the 
nest of both being built precisely in the same kind of position, — 
but it would be almost endless to cite similar cases. To account 
for some, at least, of these anomalies, an ingenious hypothesis has 
been set foi-th by Dr. M'Aldowie,^ starting on the assumption " that 
the pigmentary coat on birds' eggs came into existence at a very 
early period in their life-history, and existed in the eggs of the 
progenitors of all the extant species." It is further taken as proved 
that the pigments being " unstable and variable " makes " the pro- 
cess of change and decolorization a simple one ; and that its 
primary use is for protection from the solar rays, but that it 
afterwards becomes modified for concealment." Finally, it is main- 
tained " that eggs acquire a highly developed pigmentary layer, 
or lose their pigment entirely, according to whether they are ex- 
posed to the full glare of the sun or laid in situations inaccessible 
to its rays, and that the intermediate degrees of coloration are in 
direct ratio to the amount of light to which the eggs are exposed.^ 

^ Of course, Columha livia, and its allies C. schimperi and C. intermedia, 
usually breed in caves, and C cenas generally though not always places its nest 
under cover, but these seem to be the only exceptions in a Family comprising 
some 350 species. 

^ Observations on the Development and the Decay of the Pigment Layer in 
Birds' Eggs, Journ. Anat. and Physiol, xx. (1886), pp. 225-237. 

^ It is to be observed that the author bases his hypothesis on a study of tlio 
eggs of British birds only. Considering that in most respects the most instruc- 
tive forms of the Class do not belong to our own limited fauna, allowance 
must be made for the imperfect inlbrmatiou whence his results are drawn. 

EGGS 189 

In regard to the almost countless cases of spotted eggs in holes 
or covered nests, of which so many gi'oups of birds furnish 
examples either wholly or in part, the only supposition that could 
apparently justify the last statement would be that the species 
in question have taken to hiding their treasures in times compara- 
tively recent, and have not yet got rid of the ancestral habit of 
secreting and depositing pigment. In support of such an argument 
might be alleged, among some other cases, the generally pale colour- 
ing of eggs of the Daw, Oorvus monedula, compared Avith those of its 
kindred, as indicating a step in this direction, while a more con- 
clusive one has been taken by those members of the Hirundinidse as the 
Sand-Martin, Cotile riparia, and House-Martin, Chelidon urbica, which 
breed in holes or build close nests — their relative the Swallow, 
Hinmdo rustica, though its nest is rarely exposed to direct light, con- 
tinuing to lay eggs that are conspicuously spotted with two or three 
tints. But if this supposition be valid some other one, on (it would 
seem) a wholly different principle, must be found to explain why 
perhaps the eggs that are at once the most delicately and most 
richly coloured laid by any bird are those of the Snow-BuNTiNG, 
Pledrophanes nivalis, which except in rare instances are so sedu- 
lously concealed as to be almost beyond the reach of reflected light ; 
and again, why the several species of NUTHATCH, Sitta, which must 
have been ages in learning the art of masonry they so skilfully 
practise, lay eggs more deeply dyed than those of their felt-making 
brethren the Paridx (Titmouse), or their feather-bed cousins the 
Wrens and the Teeecreepers. But the supposition would seem 
to break down wholly as an explanation of the variable colouring 
offered by eggs of the Fantail- Warbler, Cisticola cursitans or schoeni- 
cola — whether the observations of M. Lunel (Bull. Soc. Ornithol. Suisse, 
1865, pp. 9-30, pi. 7), referring the marvellous differences the}'^ 
present to the season of the year at which they were laid, be correct 
or not, for the ark-line structure of the nest remains constant. No 
more can here be added on this matter, interesting as it is, and 
worthy of much more investigation than it has received.^ 

The grain of the egg-shell offers characters that deserve far 
more consideration than they have received until the attention of 
Herr von Nathusius having been directed to the subject by some 

^ Having introduced Hewitson's name in this connexion, and having pre- 
sently to refer to him again, I may say at once that his remarks on the color- 
ation of eggs, and some other subjects, have been frequently repeated, of course 
with more or less modification and verbose addition, by various plagiarists who 
have sometimes forgotten to mention the source of their information. With the 
greatest regard for my old friend, I am bound to say that the principles on which 
he wrote, more than fifty years since, are such as no man of science can accept 
now ; but they were those of his time, and the more recent adaptors of them are 
behind theirs. 


investigations carried on by Drs. Landois ^ and Rudolf Blasius,^ lie 
brought out a series of remarkable papers ^ in which he arrived at 
the conclusion that a well-defined type of shell-structure belongs to 
certain Families of birds, and is easily recognized under the micro- 
scope. In some cases, as in the eggs of certain Swans and Geese 
{Cygnus olor and C. musicus, Anser cinereus and A. segetum) even 
specific differences are apparent ; but more than this, difierences 
of the same kind are observable in the eggs of the Grey and Black 
Crows (Corvics cm-nix and C. corone), which, in the present writer's 
opinion, are only forms of the same dimorphic species, and, what is still 
more wonderful, the eggs of the hybrids or mongrels between these 
two forms are recognizable under the microscope by the structure 
of the shell, while yet most extraordinary is the general conclusion 
that the egg laid by a bird mated with a male of a different species 
is recognizable from one laid by the same bird when paired with a 
male of her own. The bearing of these researches on classification 
generally is of considerable importance and must be taken into 
account by all future taxonomers. Here we cannot enter into 
details, it must suffice to remark that the grain of the shell is some- 
times so fine that the surface is glossy, and this is the case with a 
large number of PlCARi^, where it is also quite colourless and the 
contents of their eggs seen through the semi-transparent shell give 
an opalescence of great beauty ; but among the TiNAMOUS, Tina- 
midse, colour is invariably present and their opaque eggs present 
the appearance of more or less globular balls of highly-burnished 
metal or glazed porcelain. Most birds lay eggs with a smooth shell, 
such as nearly all the Gavise, Limicolx, and Fasseres, and in some 
groups, as with the normal Gallmse, this seems to be enamelled or 
much polished, but it is still very different from the brilliant surface 
of those just mentioned, and nothing like a definite line can be 
drawn between their structure and that in which the substance is 
dull and uniform, as among the Alcidse and the Accipitres. In 
many of the Ratitai the surface is granulated and pitted in an 
extraordinary manner,^ and in a less degree the same feature is 

^ Zeitschr. fur wissensch. Zoologic, xv. pp. 1-31. 

2 Op. cit. xvii. pp. 480-524. 

3 Op. cit. xviii. pp. 19-21, pp. 225-270, xix. pp. 322-348, xx. pp. 106-130, 
xxi. pp. 330-335, xxx. pp. 69-77. A summary of these will be found in Journ. 
fur Ornith. 1871, pp. 241-260, and the subject has been continued in the same 
periodical for 1872, pp. 321-332, 1874, pp. 1-26, 1879, pp. 525-761, 1880, pp. 
341-346, 1881, pp. 334-336, 1882, pp. 129-161, 225-315, 1885, pp. 165-178 ; as 
well as in Zool. Anzeiger, 1885, pp. 413-415, 1SS6, pp. 555-569, 1887, pp. 292-296, 
311-316. Some critical remarks by Dr. Kutter are contained in Journ. fiir 
Orn. 1877, pp. 396-423, 1878, pp. 300-348, 1880, pp. 157-187s and Orn. Centralbl. 
1881, p. 68. 

* It is curious that Ostriches' eggs from North Africa are to be readily dis- 
tinguished from those from the Capo of Good Hope by their smooth ivory-like 

EGGS 191 

observable in tbe eggs of some other birds, as the Storks, Ciconiidse. 
Many Water-fowls, and particularly the DuCKS, Ancdidse, lay eggs 
A\dth a greasy or oleaginous exterior, as the collector who wishes to 
inscribe his specimens with marks of their identity often finds to 
his inconvenience ; but there are other eggs, as those of the Anis, 
Crotophaga, the Grebes, Fodicipedidse, and all of the Steganopodes, 
except PhaetJwn, which are more or less covered with a cretaceous 
film, often of considerable thickness and varied by calcareous pro- 

In form eggs vary very much, and this is sometimes observable 
in examples not only of the same species but even from the same 
mother, yet a certain amount of resemblance is usually to be traced 
according to the natural group to which the parents belong. Those 
of the Owls, Strigida^, and some of the Picarise — especially those 
which lay the glossy eggs above spoken of — are often apparently 
spherical, though it is probable that if tested mathematically none 
would be found truly so — indeed it may be asserted that feAv eggs 
are strictly symmetrical, however nearly they may seem so, one 
side bulging out, though very slightly, more than the other. The 
really oval form, with which we are most familiar, needs no remark, 
but this is capable of infinite variety caused by the relative posi- 
tion and proportion of the major and minor axis. In nearly all 
the Limicolse and some of the Aleidaa the egg attenuates very rapidly 
towards the smaller end, sometimes in a slightly convex cum^e, 
sometimes without perceptible curvature, and occasionally in a 
sensibly concave curve. The eggs having this pyriform shape are 
mostly those of birds Avhich invariably lay four in a nest, and therein 
they lie with their points almost meeting in the centre and thus 
occupying as little space as possible and more easily covered by the 
brooding parent. Other eggs as those of the Sand-Grouse, Ptero- 
cleidm, are elongated and almost cylindrical for a considerable part 
of their length, terminating at each end obtusely, while eggs of the 
Grebes, Podicipedidx, which also have both ends nearly alike but 
pointed, are so wide in the middle as to present a biconical appear- 

The size of eggs is generally but not at all constantly in pro- 
portion to that of the parent. The Guillemot, Alca troile, and the 
Raven, Corvus corax, are themselves of about equal size ; their eggs 
vary as ten to one. The Snipe, Scolopax galUnago, and the Black- 
bird, Turdus menda, diff'er but slightly in Aveight, their eggs remark- 
ably. The eggs of the Guillemot are as big as those of an Eagle ; 

surface, without any punctures, whereas southern specimens are rough as though 
pock-marked {Ibis, 1860, p. 74), yet no other difference that can be deemed specific 
has as yet been established between the birds of the nortli and of the south. 

^ A great deal of valuable information on this and other kindred subjects is 
given by Des Murs, Traiti giniral d'Oologic ornitJiologiquc (8vo, Paris : 1860). 


and those of the Snipe equal in size the eggs of a Partridge, Pe?-- 

dix cincrea. Hewitson, from whom these instances are taken, 
remarks : " The reason of this great disparity is, however, ob^^ous ; 
the eggs of all those bkds which quit the nest soon after they are 
hatched, and which are consequently more fully developed at their 
birth, are very large." ^ It must be added, though, that the number 
of eggs to be covered at one time seems also to have some relation 
to their size, and this offers a further explanation of the fact just 
mentioned Avith regard to the Snipe and the Partridge — the former 
being one of those birds which are constant in producing fom*, and 
the latter often laying as many as a dozen — for the chicks of each 
run as soon as they release themselves from the shell (see Embry- 
ology, Incubation). 

EGRET (French Aigrette, cognate with Italian Aghirone, and 
Provencal Aigron — Latinized Egretta), a white Heron, remark- 
able for the tufts of long filiform feathers ^ which spring from the 
middle and lower part of its back, and take their name from the 
buxl which produces them. A small bundle of these feathers has 
long been used among eastern nations as an ornament, and worn 
in front of the turban, caftan, or other head-di'ess by personages of 
high rank, being occasionally mounted with, or its form imitated 
by, precious stones ; and the gift of an " egret " so bejewelled has 
been one of the most distinguished marks of honoiu" that coidd be 
bestowed by an oriental ruler upon a favourite minister or successful 
leader.^ The fashion has spread among western nations, and in the 
"plume" that surmounts or until lately suimiounted the "busby" 
or " bearskin " of our artillery, hussars, and certain select regiments 
of foot, it verges on the ridiculous, all the grace of the original 
being lost in the horsehair that counterfeits its form. 

In Europe we have two species to which the name Egret 
properly belongs. One is of large size, the Ardea cdha, the other 
much smaller, A. garzetta. The "Egrittes" of Archbishop NeAdlle's 
Inthronization feast at York {temp. Edw. IV.) were no doubt 

EIDER (Icelandic, ^iSur), a large marine Duck, the Somatcria 
moUissima of ornithologists, famous for its down, which, from its 

^ Hewitson, op. cit. Introd. p. x. 

- These feathers consist of fine barbs alone, without barbules, and though 
soft as silk keep their stiffness. They are assumed only just before the breeding- 
season, and hence the procuring of them destroys the birds at a most critical 
moment (see Extermhstation). In the "plume trade" they bear the name of 
"Ospreys" ! 

^ The "egret" sent by the Sultan to Nelson after the battle of the Nile is 
almost historical, and was apparently more valued by the hero than any other 
gift he got. 

EIDER 193 

extreme lightness and elasticity, is in great request for filling bed- 
coverlets. This iDird generally frequents low rocky islets near the 
coast, and in Iceland and Norway has long been afforded every 
encouragement and protection, a, fine being inflicted for killing it 
during the breeding-season, or even for firing a gun near its haunts, 
while artificial nesting-places are in many localities contrived for its 
further accommodation. From the care thus taken of it in those 
countries it has become exceedingly tame at its chief resorts, which 
are strictly regarded as property, and the taking of eggs or down 
from them, except by authorized persons, is severely punished by 
law. In appearance the Eider is somewhat clumsy, though it flies 
fast and dives admirably. The female is of a dark reddish-broAvn 
colour barred with bro^vnish-black. The adult male in spring is 
conspicuous by his pied plumage of sable beneath, and creamy- 
white above ; a patch of shining sea-green on his head is only seen 
on close inspection. This plumage he is considered not to acquire 
until his third year, being when young almost exactly like the 
female, and it is certain that the birds which have not attained 
their full dress remain in flocks by themselves without going to the 
breeding-stations. The nest is generally in some convenient corner 
among large stones, hollowed in the soil, and fiu-nished with a few 
bits of dry grass, seaweed, or heather. By the time that the full 
number of eggs (which rarely if ever exceeds five) is laid the down 
is added. Generally the eggs and down are taken at intervals of a 
few days by the owners of the "Eider-fold," and the birds are thus 
kept depositing both during the whole season ; but some experience 
is. needed to insure the greatest profit from each commodity. Every 
Duck is ultimately allowed to hatch an egg or two to keep up the 
stock, and the down of the last nest is gathered after the birds have 
left the spot. The story of the Drake's furnishing down, after the 
Duck's supply is exhausted, is a fiction.^ He never goes near the 
nest. The eggs have a strong flavour, but are much relished by 
both Icelanders and Norwegians. In the Old World the Eider 
breeds in suitable localities from Spitsbergen to the Earn Islands 
off the coast of Northumberland — where it is known as St. Cuth- 
bert's Duck. Its food consists of marine animals (mollusks and 
crustaceans), and hence the young are not easily reared in captivity. 
The Eider of the NeAV World diff'ers somewhat from our own, and 
has been described as a distinct species, ;S'. dresseri. Though much 
diminished in numbers by persecution, it still inhabits the coast of 
Newfoundland and thence northward. In Greenland Eiders are 
very plentiful, and it is supposed that three-fourths of the supply 
of down sent to Copenhagen come from that country. The limits 
of the Eider's northern range are not known, but the last British 

^ Equally fictitious is the often -repeated statement that Eider-down is white. 
Mouse-colour would perhaps best describe its hue. 


Arctic Expedition does not seem to have met Avith it after leaving 
the Danish settlements, and its place is taken by an allied species, 
the King-Duck, S. spedabilis, a very beautiful bird which sometimes 
appears on the British coasts. The female greatly resembles that 
of the Eider, but the male has a black chevron on his chin and a 

bright orange prominence on 
his forehead, which last seems 
to have given the species its 
English name. On the west 
coast of North America the 
Eider is represented by a 
species, ^S'. v-nigrum, Avith a 

King-Duck, (t (After Swainson.) ■,■-, -, i j. ii, • 

° ^ like chevron, but otherAvise 

resembling the Atlantic bird. In the same Avaters tAA^o other fine 
species are also found, S. fisclieri and S. steUeri, the latter of AA^hich 
also inhabits the Arctic coast of Russia and East Finmark, and has 
tAvice reached England. The Labrador Duck, S. lahradoria, A\''hich 
is now believed to be extinct (see Extermination), also belongs to 
this group. 

ELEUTHERODACTYLI, Forbes's name (Proc. Zool Soc. 1880, 
p. 390) for all the Passeres except the Desmodactyli or 
Eurylsemidai (Broadbill), but 

ELEUTHERODACTYLOUS is sometimes said of any bird 
Avhich has its toes free and not connected by a Aveb, or otherAAase 
bound together ; equivalent to Fissipedal of some older authors. 

ELK (Icelandic Alft), a name formerly used, but perhaps now 
obsolete, for the ordinary Wild or Whooper-SwAN. 

EMBER (otherAAdse IMMER) GOOSE— Dan. Imher ■ Sw. Immer, 
and Emmer ; Icel. Himbrim — a name applied in the northern Islands 
of Britain to the Great Northern Diver. 

EMBRYOLOGY, from 'iix/Spvov, a groAvth Avithin. Very feAv types 
of Birds have been studied embryologically, and for obvious reasons 
the common FoAAd has alAA^ays been the favourite ; but recently 
the early development of the Duck, Goose, Pigeon, Starling, Melo- 
psittacus, and Apteryx has also been investigated.^ Later embryonic 
stages being more easily procured and preserved by field-ornitho- 
logists have been studied in a greater number of species, such as 
the Ostrich, Gulls, Guillemots, and the Rook, besides the forms 
mentioned above. These investigations have, hoAvever, sliOAvn that 
the variations in the early dcA^elo})ment of dilVerent Birds are only 
of geuei'al importance. Until about the fifth or sixth day of 

^ M. Braun, " Dio F.ntwickhni.L,' ilcs ■\Vi'llcnpapaL;(.'is," Arbeit, dcr xool.-hot. 
Inst. Wilrzhurrj (1879), v. pts. ii. and iii. 


incubation the embryos of the most different Birds still so much 
resemble each other that the want of extensive examination need 
not be so much deplored. Towards the end of the first week 
internal and external differences appear, characteristic of the Order 
and Family to which the bird belongs, while, with exceptions, the 
generic differences make their appearance during the second week : 
specific difference can hardly be expected in the embryos. Of course 
the seven days' embryo of a Sparrow is more advanced than 
that of a Duck, which requires four times as many days, or than that 
of an Ostrich, which requires more than seven weeks of incubation, 
but their several characteristic features can be discerned at the end 
of the first third of the whole period of incubation. A comparative 
treatise on avine embryology which is to render valuable taxonomic 
results will have to restrict itself to the latter half of the embryonic 
stages. Such a treatise is still a desideratum, and cannot be under- 
taken until a large, well-preserved, well-named, and well-timed 
material of embryos of a great number of any birds is at hand. 
Prof. Fiirbringer has incidentally drawn attention to the probably 
considerable help which may be derived from the resemblances 
between middle - aged embryos of certain Families, before their 
specialized forms of bill and feet are fixed, and then rather obscure 
the affinities of the Birds in question. He mentions the striking 
similarity between Lai-idas and Limicolse (the alfinities of which 
two groups it took Ornithologists a long time to find out), between 
Picidse and Passeres, Striges and Caprimulgidse, and so on. Very 
young nestlings of Humming-birds, kindly sent to me by Col. Feilden 
are scarcely distinguishable in general appearance from young Swifts, 
because their bills are still quite short and broad. 

Formation of the Ovum in the Ovary. — Each ovum is a globular 
yellow body, consisting mainly of yellow and white yolk, and sur- 
rounded by the follicular membrane, which is the bulged -out 
continuation of the stroma of the ovary. This membrane con- 
tains numerous blood-vessels, through which the ovum is nour- 
ished and enabled to grow. Gradually the growing ovum draAvs 
the follicular caj)sule out into a stalk, surrounds itself with the 
vitelline membrane, and ultimately bursts the capsule, whereupon 
it falls into the body-cavity, or rather into the wide funnel-shaped 
mouth of the oviduct. The stalk and rest of the burst capsule 
shrivel up, and are gradually absorbed without forming a corpus 
luteum, as is the case in Mammals. The ovum is now ripe and ready 
for fertilization. It shews the following composition : A small 
amount of white yolk, consisting of small vesicles with albuminous 
matter, and a number of globular highly-refractive bodies, forming 
a small mass at the centre of the ovum, and continued to the sur- 
face by a stalk expanding into a funnel-shaped disk, the edges of 
which are continued over the surface of the ovum as a delicate 



layer. Upon the top of the funnel-shaped disk of white j^olk lies 
the germinal vesicle, which, like the Avhite yolk, consists of numerous 
protoplasmatic spherules \ part of the contents of this vesicle 
shrivels up, and causes the vesicle to assume the shape of a disk, 
the " germinal disk." The rest, the greater portion of the ovum, so 
far as it is surrounded by the vitelline membrane, consists of yellow 
yolk, composed of numerous granular globules of albuminous and 
fatty matter. 

The Ovum in the Oviduct. — The ovum, Avhile still in the upper 
portion of the oviduct, is surrounded by the spermatozoa which 
have worked themselves through the oviduct from the cloaca. 
They swarm round the surface of the vitelline membrane, and one 
or more spermatozoa find their way into the germinal vesicle, and 
fuse with the contents of the latter. Upon this impregnation follows, 


Diagrammatic Section or a Fertilized Egg. 

A. Air-chamber at the 'blnnt pole ; Bl. BLastodemi ; Ch. Chalazee ; S. Shell ; 

S.M. Shell membrane; Vm. Vitelline membrane. 

while the ovum is still -vrithin the oviduct, the remarkable process 
of "segmentation." This process consists of the division of the 
germinal disk by successive cleaA^ages into a number of cells, which 
step by ste^D build up the complex mechanism of the embryo. This 
segmentation being restricted to the germinal disk is called " mero- 
blastic," in opposition to " holoblastic " segmentation, where, as in 
the ova of the higher Mammals, the "whole material of the egg 
becomes segmented. 

The egg, having been received into the oviduct, is propelled in 
a spiral course by the peristaltic contractions of its Avails, and 
receives from the glands of its lining membrane an accessory mantle 
of al])umen, or the " Avhite " of the egg. The average composition 
of this albumen is 12 % of proteid matter, US fat, 0"5 saline 
matter, and 80 % Avater. The albumen is rajiidly added, and 
OAving to alternating denser and more Avatery layers, has a spiral 


aiTangement, as may be seen in hard-boiled eggs. Some of the 
layers of denser albumen, surrounding the fluid layer next the 
vitelline membrane, extend as twisted cords or " chalazae " towards 
the two poles of the egg. They do not quite reach the outer layer 
of the white, although the cord next the pointed pole of the egg 
ultimately becomes somewhat superficially attached to the lining 
membrane of the eggshell. The chalazse serve to suspend the yolk 
by acting as elastic pads, and thus keeping it in position. The 
interior of each cord presents the appearance of a succession of 
opaque white knots, hence the name of clialazsn or hailstones. 

When the egg has arrived at the narrow constriction of the 
oviduct (which seems to take place in the common Fowl in from four 
to six hours after its entrance into the infundibular upper end of 
the oviduct), the mucous membrane of the latter produces a denser 
layer of albumen mixed with several laminas of felted fibres, which 
approach the nature of connective tissue. This is the shell -mem- 
brane which gives the egg its final size and shape, and consists of an 
inner and an outer layer, both of which remain permanently in 
close apposition over the greater part of the egg, and adhere to the 
shell, but at the broad end they tend to sejDarate, and develop an 
air-chamber between them. This chamber does not exist in per- 
fectly fresh eggs, but makes its appearance and increases in size as 
the white of the egg loses in bulk from evaporation. 

From the narrow isthmus the egg passes into the uterine or 
shell-forming dilatation ; here it remains from twelve to twenty 
hours. The whole shell is deposited as an accessory sheath by the 
thickish white excretions of the glandular walls of the uterus. This 
excretion forms an organic basis or matrix, impregnated with cal- 
careous matter, which coagulates and crystallizes partly in the shape 
of felted strands. The shell rests with so-called mammillary processes 
upon and partly in the shell-membrane ; the mammillse themselves 
are comparatively poor in inorganic matter. The interstices be- 
tween them and the shell -membrane are continued through the 
calcareous layer of the hard shell as vertical canals. These canals 
are branched